Tuesday, 3 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 18: received 03.03.09 0733 GMT

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)

A tough 24 hours for us all on Telefónica Blue - around about midnight last night we found ourselves under a massive cloud and didn't get out from under it until the morning. It really was the mother of all rain squalls.

For hours on end we were battling with massively shifting winds and long periods of calms as we struggled to make headway in the right direction. It was as if a massive foot had descended from the heavens and stamped right on us! Not good at all, the leaders have gained on us and Green Dragon rolled right past. However, we can take some solace in the fact that the rest of the fleet are also starting to slow now as they too have to deal with messy light winds too.

Time is running short to catch up before the first scoring gate though, so we have the bit firmly between our teeth and we are fighting hard to get back at them. Having the Dragons in sight has provided some extra motivation, and it is kind of fun to be in view of another boat after so many miles of empty open ocean.

In our efforts to find more wind today Jordi (Jordi Calafat/ESP) got quite a fright as what looked to be a massive humpback whale appeared just a few metres away from the boat travelling casually in the other direction! It was as if we had accidently strayed into the oncoming traffic! Luckily though, for both the whale and us a near miss was all it was and we both continued on our way unharmed if not a little surprised.

The sun has now set on us once again and it looks as though we are going to have another night of battling with clouds, as I sit here and type I can hear the rain pounding down on the deck and the boat slowing and accelerating as each gust and lull rolls over us... For me though it is into bed for a quick sleep before going up on watch again, hopefully by then we will be back in clear sky and breeze again. Wishful thinking maybe, but it's good to have a dream!!

Volvo Ocean Race

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