Sunday, 1 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 15 QFB: received 28.02.98 0850 GMT

Sunshine after the rain onboard 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 Tom Addis (navigator)


A busy 24hrs for everyone with the dies being cast and the pack shuffled.

We did the only thing that we felt we could do from the position we were in coming up to Fiji - and that was going through the middle. This position was a hangover dating back from our meeting with the uncharted rock in Qingdao.

Starting late, we have generally been sailing in headed breeze compared with the boats in front, and always struggled to hold our easterly lane. But then we found ourselves in front of Fiji, well to leeward of the pack, with an opportunity to go through the door in front of us rather than having to take a big loss by tacking upwind for an extra 40 miles or so than the leaders to get around the east of the island.

Going though the middle did not look ideal by any means, but it was the only option we could see that didn't involve realising a certain major loss. Lighter breeze, breeze blowing up the narrow channels rather than across, and the increased amount of manoeuvring through the reefs were all downsides, but there was a glimmer of hope in the form of reduced distance sailed - made even brighter when Puma decided to join us. Unfortunately they were our only company but it felt much better than being out on an edge on our own for sure!

We locked ourselves away in our little world for a bit and did what we had to do to get out the other side as efficiently as possible to see where all the cards lay on the other side. Well we are out now and they don't look as bad as we sometimes feared. We will have to see how things pan out over the next few days though. Would be really interesting to hear Kenny & Capey's (Ken Read – skipper PUMA and Andrew Cape navigator PUMA) views on the episode as they were in a much more balanced position regarding which option to take than us.

Good that we got to go through Fiji during daylight too. Good for breeze, good for navigation and awesome for views. Will have to come back and stop here for sure!

Volvo Ocean Race

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