Saturday, 14 March 2009
Pablo Arrarte drilling the batten end with Jordi Calafat, while Tom Addis is supervising 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)
Another day of ‘following the ridge’ into the ice gate. 220 miles to go before we can finally bear away onto a spinnaker again. We get a much cleaner transition into the fronts that will take us to Cape Horn than the others, who have had a fair bit of upwind after rounding the gate so that’s a bonus I guess! We’ll take anything at the moment!
Heaps of talk re timings at the moment, every time I go on deck, I make sure that I’ve got all the vital arrival statistics in my head such as distances, timings etc. If I slip up and give a distance that is not fully consistent with one I gave earlier, they are onto me in an instant like a pack of hungry seagulls!
Hard to say re timings to the finish – if we get lots of downwind, then we are fine, if its reaching or upwind, then we are way off our normal pace. Finding some interesting combinations of sails to use though, not many would get a mention in our normal sail crossover chart, but in our dramatically simplified one in use at the moment, they work really well compared with the alternatives. The rig is fine – completely stable, our only handicap is not being able to hoist jibs.
So it’s into the big downwind from tomorrow night, starting off pretty moderate but it looks like we have a good three days or so of heavy running. These boats are so powerful that they don’t really need any more than 25kts downwind to be at their fastest – any more breeze than that just gets closer and closer to survival conditions where you have to start throttling back. All the traditional adages about where to sail in the Southern Ocean generally revolve around looking for the biggest breeze, now it’s all about looking for breeze that is strong but not so strong that you can’t use it properly.
Heater is on for a few hours each night now, downstairs is now awesome with things getting dry again. Will get a tad more humid down here once some water starts coming over the bow again though. We are all looking forward to high speeds towards home though – that’s worth getting wet for.
Volvo Ocean Race