Tuesday, 9 June 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG EIGHT DAY 3 QFB: received 08.06.09 1407 GMT

Chasing Telefonica Blue, onboard PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Galway to Marstrand. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Rick Deppe

There are some tired boys on the boat this morning..... The team have been up all night battling the light winds and strong currents trying to get around the Channel Islands in close company with our friends onboard Ericsson and Telefónica. Things have settled down a bit now so the guys that can are diving into the rack, a few of them are already snoring away loudly whilst the ones left on deck can do nothing but yawn and look at their watches in anticipation of the watch change and their turn to hit the bunk.

For the first time in the race we are running a designated standby watch.... this is causing some confusion with mixed up sleeping bags and lost pillows but all in all everyone seems to be hanging in.

Yesterday at Land's End we had a narrow lead in the race, I wrote that Capey's (Andrew Cape) biggest fear was the wind dying out... well about twenty minutes after I sent yesterdays blog, the wind did indeed die and within about two hours we found ourselves in last place along with Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Blue. A complete reversal in the fleet with Telefónica Black making up more than twenty miles and taking the lead which they still held this morning, although the pack has managed to eat into their lead a little through the night and this morning.

As we approach the straits of Dover and all the major European gateway ports the amount of ship traffic is starting to build dramatically. Already this morning we had to bear away dramatically for a couple of ships. The big problem is that on the yacht we can very accurately adjust course to avoid them with the least amount of trouble, the ships always seem to freak out right at the end and alter course dramatically, usually causing us to have to make a drastic course alteration or sit in bad air from the ship for five minutes.... very frustrating and Capey (Andrew Cape) informs me that we have about another 24 to 30 hrs of dodging ships.

It's a typical English Channel day, grey skies, chilly and intermittent showers make for a sombre mood onboard. So for now we continue to claw our way back into the race. It should be fairly straightforward for the next day or so and then we have the challenge of the sausage off Rotterdam, now that should be interesting.

Volvo Ocean Race

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