Saturday, 21 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 35 QFB: received 20.03.09 1026 GMT

Telefonica Blue feeling the full force of the Southern Ocean when they approached Cape horn, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Bouwe Bekking (skipper)

Finally yesterday late afternoon we got moving again in the right direction, as it took a long time before the breeze started filling in. It is amazing so much influence a landmass has on the wind. Sixty miles further south of us it was blowing a full gale, a tough one to answer when asked what I would have preferred.

We ended up going east of Staten Island, as we otherwise wouldn’t have made good progress with our J4 jib. Now we are going west of the Falkland Islands as we don’t want to get trapped by the building high pressure in front of us. These highs are moving from west to east, and since we can’t make it in front of it, this is the only choice we have. This means as well sailing very tight angles and later during the day we will be going upwind again. But tonight is just beautiful, a clear night, not a single cloud to spot: still a bit nippy, but who cares? We are going north.

We had, though, a slow down period, after a so-called checkstay had stripped completely off the mast. This is a stay which roughly attaches in the middle of the mast, and with that we can control the bend of the mast. We were fully aware that this could happen, as we had damaged it when we broke the forestay. It was a good thing that we had set up a temporary stay already from day one, just in case this would happen.

David (David Vera) had to go up in the rig, remember night time and waves of around 2-3 meters high, to take the checkstay down and of course to check if there was any further damage. It all looks good, but we are going to do another one as soon the sun comes up. We are taking these kinds of setbacks with a ‘smile’ on our face, nothing what we can’t face and we will tackle it and move on.

Gabry (Gabriel Olivo – MCM) had a full-on day, from 0230 yesterday until late this evening, not only taking all the footage when we rounded the Horn, but making sure as well to get all the videos and pictures off the boat. He has been sitting for hours behind his laptop editing every single item to make sure it was perfect before sending it off. He got his well deserved bonus, even that he will only realize tomorrow morning. We didn’t wake him up for covering the mast ascent. The boy needed some well deserved sleep!!

Volvo Ocean Race

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