by Tom Addis (navigator)
It has been a couple of days since I’ve written and much has happened in some ways and not a lot in others!!
We had a good final run down to the 1st scoring gate and then put some really good miles into our “southern mates” on Ericsson 4 as we headed east from East Cape, NZ. We sneaked across the ridge of the high that we were all suddenly sailing north of (the traditional route would have you south), and before we picked up our shift to tack north again, BANG, we lost our forestay and our ability to go upwind with any pace at all in 10 to 20kts of wind (and there is a lot of that wind strength around).
From here, we were in a world of hurt, sailing back into the high towards the Chatham’s as we cleaned up and then finding ourselves unable to take advantage of our shift and dribbling north to try to minimise the losses. It was out with the jokes, iPods and stories while we limped along. There was lots of talk about possible ways to get some bigger jibs to work with our jury setup, but we won’t be trying anything like that until after Cape Horn in reality. The rig is held in the yacht with strops and halyard locks – not ideal by any means.
We are almost back into the real world again now. Back on port heading for the ice way lines and seeing some good lifted breeze that is letting us sail a bit more like a racing yacht again. Another 24hrs and we should have some angles that we can use at close to 100%, so we are all really looking forward to that. Until then it’s managing the transitions from cruising boat to racing yacht as the conditions allow!
Some great work by the guys on Ericsson 3 to have the courage of their convictions and go hard for what they felt was right. I’m sure we all saw the north option was there as we headed down to the scoring gate, but only they went for it with 100% and it shows now!
Better run, we are in racing mode again now. Right in the sweet spot of one of our two headsails. Doing lots of work on revising our polars and sail crossovers but in reality its a pretty simple solution with only 2 jibs designed to cover the extreme ends of the wind range – our Code 0 headsail used upwind in 0-11kts and our J4 designed to be used in 24+. It’s just about working out where the join in the middle has to be. It’s a very simple life here on TELA at the moment!
Volvo Ocean Race