Saturday, 27 June 2009

VOR: About to Get Interesting...

by Rick Deppe

Not much happening on the boat at the moment and with about 140 miles to the finish it's really just a case of trying to keep the speed on and the other guys behind us. We only have an approximate mileage to the finish because the race committee is trying to coordinate things so that we will finish the race in a specific time window sometime around 0800 local on Saturday. They will do this by sending us on a triangle course of 10, 20 or 30 miles extra. As you can imagine, this is universally unpopular with the guys who just want to finish. Everyone is feeling a little burned out. Casey Smith had a few words to say about the situation that I cannot write here! The reason for this strange circumstance is that the fleet must make a rendezvous with the bridges into St Petersburg they will have to be raised to allow the VO 70's to pass underneath. This might not seem like a big deal but apparently it is. These bridges have NEVER been raised during the day, and the thinking by some is that it will bring the city to a standstill. Should be an interesting time.

To leeward I see the Estonian coastline and find myself wondering about the people living there. How different their lives must be from my own. What does our journey mean to the people in St Petersburg who will come to the race village for the last part of our amazing voyage? The race has been very different this time around taking in many new countries. When I think of the huge crowds in India or Qingdao, I can’t help but feel optimistic that our sport will be in good shape moving forward. Of course boating is expensive and in this economic climate may appear out of reach to many. My experience is that most sailors do not come from privileged backgrounds- not that there is anything wrong with it as my good friend the king will tell you! A great way to start is in a junior program at one of the thousands of yacht clubs around the world. I would urge members and organizers of these yacht clubs to start investing in the future by creating an affordable way in for young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to sail.

Sailing past Copenhagen on the last leg, we saw that wind power will be a major part of our energy supply in the future. It doesn't take a huge leap of the imagination to think that someday we will once again harness the wind for commercial transportation also. Technology has allowed sailing to evolve to a point where we can travel great distances at very high speeds. My friends at Wallenius Willhelmson shipping line have told me that they see wind power as a very big part of their initiative to have 0% carbon footprint on their ships in the very near future.

So I'm sure you get the picture that things are very quiet here on il mostro...


We will shortly be tacking onto port around the island of Moschny. The expected right hander never came through and Telefonica Blue is starting to look dangerous out to weather of us. It will be interesting to see who comes out ahead. Right now it looks as though we would still be ahead but if the wind goes any further left things could change very quickly. Either way its looking as though we might have a fight to the finish on our hands.

Will get back shortly.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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