Saturday, 14 March 2009
PUMA Ocean Racing, hit rough weather in the Southern Ocean, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Kenny Read (skipper)
...And now for a break in the action...
The Volvo Ocean Race went on hold for a couple of us, as we are in the process of essentially waiting for a low pressure system to come our way so we can jump on and rip to the horn. Sounds bizarre? Well, when you look at a weather map of this place, it is truly Bizzaro World.
If we continued south we would be blocked out of the Horn by a huge area of light winds. Essentially, for ourselves and Ericsson 4, who are positioned within 27 miles of each other, our quickest route by far, is to head northeast and punch through quite a strong low to get in the westerlies on the back side of it. Just when you thought this leg couldn't get any weirder.
The Dragons are going to be the huge recipients of this early Christmas present as they are about 300 miles behind us as we head to the Horn, but they will be the first to jump on this system and come ripping up to us and, as we see it, start the leg all over again with Ericsson 4 and ourselves. As for the other two, Telefónica Blue may not be so lucky as they are still one complete weather system behind but, at this point, I count nothing out. Ericsson 3, who has worked so hard for a nice little lead, is showing no signs of heading up for this front as of yet. Do they continue south and try to beat this low, or do they come back with us and jump on the train and burn up their hard earned lead? Very interesting.
Adding to the bizarre nature of this leg is the huge disparity from last night to tonight. Essentially last night sucked. Really cold, tons of water, hard reaching. Brutal conditions really. As morning came the wind started to back off and by midday we were reaching in bright sunshine with the mast head genoa on and airing out the boat. That trend continues tonight. Unreal.
On board we all really appreciated the sun and the lack of fire hosing today. Allowed for a bunch of chores and tidy-ups. Much needed rest and some new stories. Really and truly a nice break in the action.
We talked today about a total lack of marine life out here so far. Very few Albatross and only a handful of small sea birds. No fish or dolphins to speak of. Thank goodness no whales (they can hurt both whale and boat if they meet unexpectedly). My guess is that even the marine life have figured out that this is a pretty desolate place and there are better places on earth to hang out. Strange though when we passed through a similar latitude leaving Cape Town there were tons of Albatross. None on this side of the Southern Ocean.
Only 1700 miles to the Horn. Hopefully the race will start up again soon. We are officially ready to put this stage of the leg behind us.
Volvo Ocean Race