Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Michael Pammenter driving during a few hours of sunshine, 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 Simon Fisher (helmsman)

This morning we entered the 'furious fifties'. Luckily for us though, right now they aren't too 'furious', but sufficiently windy to keep us on our toes!

The water temperature is steadily dropping, down now to only eight degrees. The sea and spray that comes over the boat has taken on a beautiful icy blue colour as the boat carves through the waves.

The gear is now well piled on although with so many layers you can easily find yourself sweating like a pig as any manoeuvre in all those clothes warms you up rapidly. The trick is then to not get too cold when you sit still again....

Despite all the top of the range wet weather gear, sometimes water seems to find its way in too.... Sometimes down you neck or up your sleeves, if you are really unlucky up a trouser leg! Needless to say, in a damp cold boat, drying out again is easier said than done, although by stuffing all your layers in the sleeping bag with you they end up damp and warm!

It looks like the weather isn't set to give us too much of a beating in the next few days on the way down to the Horn, which comes as a relief to everyone onboard. We find ourselves feeling slightly fortunate when we see the other boats dealing with 30-40 knots even if currently we are slightly slower, we are happy to be without that much wind. If the furious fifties continue to be not too furious that’s just fine with me!

Volvo Ocean Race

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