by Guy Salter
A new phenomenon for us today - the horizon!
We have not seen the horizon for what seems like days - although in reality it’s probably been just a few hours. With the increase in visibility comes the sight of a competitor in the form of Delta Lloyd - sailing below us on starboard tack also. Now its back to binoculars, taking bearings and the constant discussions of sail choice and modes as every metre won or lost is carefully analysed.
With each three hourly sched comes big changes in leaderboard - like the changes in the hit parade used to be when the buying power of the pop-conscious teenager was first realised and before it was exploited. Our last performance saw us drop down the charts with the majority of the fleet succeeding in cutting the corner on us to the next ice waypoint.
It looks like the wind will get lighter ahead of us so I’m sure this long drawn out game of snakes and ladders will see some big risers and maybe some even bigger fallers!
Everyone is just lining up for what looks like a rip roaring ride on the second part of this leg into Galway.
The transatlantic leg or race to me is a classic – it’s the reasonably more accessible playground for all those people wishing to experience Southern Ocean style conditions - the breeze, the cold and the exhilarating rides (hopefully, but all with the somewhat comforting knowledge of some kind of assistance being within a reasonably short distance (not several thousand miles like the Southern Ocean).
A few of us were talking of a transatlantic race we sailed in some years ago and how different this trip has been so far. Then it was upwind in 30+ knots and between us we reeled off a catalogue of carnage - drilling and tapping the main tracks back on masts, electrical fires, canard problems, huge leaks , interiors falling apart and countless rope and sail damages - but we all look back on those hard times fondly and usually with a smile.
So it’s blue skies and reasonably warmer weather this afternoon. The deck is dry and we have even needed sunglasses. Facially I think we have all changed somewhat on this leg due to Dave Endean’s personal stash of beef jerky. He has brought along some of the finest jerky any of us have tasted - from the normal to the peppered. My favourite being the hot and spicy variety which hasn’t been to everyone’s taste.
It’s a bit like a really good Thai beef salad where the great taste means you want more but the spice is just on the brink of being unbeatable - we’ve definitely seen the water intake increase as we all try to cool our tongues down.
But although delicious, the jerky has been hard to chew and I can imagine that we all have a very square jawline now. The muscles on each side of our faces ache from chewing - as opposed to laughing. Dave also had us on the edges of our seats as he read excerpts from the book of the race ‘Spanish Castle to White Night’. I would definitely vote for him to do the final reading if ever the book were to be released in audio format. Some of his voices were inspired.
Anyway that’s all from Ericsson 4 for now. Back to the ups and downs of the scheds and the slight bipolar emotions which accompany them. Looking forward the warm welcome awaiting all boats in Ireland - I know we have a massive posse awaiting with some of our boats biggest fans - Jan B, The Cork Massive and a few of the finest from Howth.
Let’s hope we all have something to celebrate apart from a safe arrival for the fleet.
Volvo Ocean Race