Thursday, 11 June 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG EIGHT DAY 5 QFB: received 10.06.09 1725 GMT

Sailing past wind farms, on leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Galway to Marstrand. Image copyright Huang Jian/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Ian Walker

I cannot believe how changeable the conditions have been over the last 4 days and that is from someone who has sailed in the English Channel a lot.

Even now as we clear the top of Denmark we are having to contend with 60 degree windshifts but thankfully far less shipping. Ian Moore has done a great job navigating such tricky weather and thanks to these changeable conditions we have managed to maintain a top 3 place for a few days now.

Bad memories of losing miles day in day out whilst reaching in a trade wind procession seem a long time ago. Spirits have always remained high onboard the Dragon. One thing never ceases to amaze me about our team, which is that whatever conditions we face and however we are doing in the race everyone puts in the same amount of effort. It is easy to try harder when you are doing well and drop your spirits when things go badly but that doesn't happen because most of the guys have seen it all before.

The watches are metronomic. Hour in, hour out, day in day out and for that I can only applaud the guys. One thing I can tell you is that the race is a lot more fun when you are near the front and today was great swapping places with Ericsson 4 for the lead. They have extended recently but we can still see them just ahead.

We have now played what must be one of the last throws of the dice by heading out North on our approach to Skagen. This wasn't deliberate but was forced by the huge right shift at the time. Now we must sit tight and see if we have done enough to hold off the two Telefónica's. The conditions which have been atrocious with a classic North Sea head sea have abated and lighter air today has meant some much needed rest was possible. I'm planning a little nap now before the big push into the early hours into Marstrand. We have 110 miles to go and I do not want everyone's effort to have been for nothing.

Volvo Ocean Race

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