Sunday, 8 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 23 QFB: received 8.03.09 0238 GMT

Telefonica Blue crew member Jordi Calafat (Helmsman) looking at the trim of the J4 en route to Rio De Janeiro on Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Simon Fisher (helmsman)

Since breaking our forestay, the last couple of days haven't been our finest here on Telefónica Blue. We have been forced to sail with reduced sail and we have been making slow progress which is proving frustrating.

Added to that it would seems Ericsson 3's bold move to go north has proved to be a stroke of genius and our southern route, well not good would be a polite way of putting it... The rest of the fleet have headed off north too and we have been battling in the south with lighter winds and a variable direction. Now we have to watch the rest of the competition blasting along while we plod along upwind.

For a while we were tacking every few hours, trying to make progress in the right direction. Perhaps my memory has faded in the last few years, but this certainly isn't the Southern Ocean I remember! The Roaring Forties are more like the Boring Forties at the moment!

Still, things do look set to improve for us, once we finally get lifted and onto our downwind sails hopefully we will be closer to our optimum speed and things will seem a little less bleak than they do now - added to which it is still a very long way to Cape Horn and our focus remains clear - get there in one piece and then see what we can do for the remainder of the leg into Rio.

Despite battling upwind through the boring 40's, there is never a dull moment on board, take yesterday for example I was thinking the remainder of my six hour watch was going to be uneventful, when someone popped their head up to say the watermaker wasn't working. Fast forward one hour and there I am with the pump all pulled apart, trying to work out why every time you switched it on it started smoking.

Luckily, although Pepe (Pepe Ribes/ESP) is not with us this leg, his well-prepared list of spares is, and I was able to find the offending part and replace it. Good job too after poking around for the bilge for an hour and making the usual discovery that electricity and water don’t mix, I was starting to get bloody thirsty!!

As bad as it sounds though, believe it or not I am still smiling. Whilst it would be fair to say this race could be going better I have to admit I am still enjoying my time on the ocean. Everyone on board is still pretty happy and is able to make light of the situation which I'm sure will be us through to the finish. And with that in mind I am going to head off to my bunk for a nice afternoon nap and hope that the wind has built a little when I get up in four hours time!

Volvo Ocean Race

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