Sunday, 1 March 2009
Jonathan Swain trimming, on Telefonica Blue, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Simon Fisher (helmsman)
There has been something of a change of pace today. After nearly two weeks of sailing along on port we are finally tacking every hour or so as we wriggle our way through the Fijian Islands.
Each tack is a frenzy of activity as we transfer all the stuff we need to survive our marathon voyage from one side to the other, plus all the sails on deck before we get too close to the reefs that force us to tack.
We have committed to going through the middle of the Islands along with Puma, but the rest of our rivals are working their way to the east. How will this work out for us? We wait with baited breath. It is a point where we may see big gains or losses with the Ericsson boats and the Dragons some 120 miles to the east on the other side of the island. So far it has been OK though, and despite the tacking, we still have good winds and are sailing fast.
It is strange to see land after so many days at sea and yet so close whilst in the midst of the vast Pacific Ocean. It casts my mind back to life onshore and I find myself thinking of all the things I miss whilst cooped up on just 70 feet of racing yacht and all the things I am looking forward to when we finally get to Rio...
Whilst dodging past a few nice looking reefs with clean breaking waves Jono (Jonathan Swain) and I found ourselves talking about going for surf and how nice that would be. It was a refreshing thought in the scorching heat of the day as we all dragged sails from one side of the boat to the other!
However, today, there is no time for stopping and the islands look set to disappear back into the horizon as quickly as they appeared as we continue on our way to the south.
Volvo Ocean Race