Saturday, 27 June 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG TEN DAY 2 QFB: received 26.06.09 0234 GMT

by Kenny Read

We are racing again. I have to admit that this leg was a tough one to really get fired up about. That is until the starting gun went off of course. Then it is full on, no matter what is at stake.

Of course, I would be remiss without saying that the send off in Stockholm was as fantastic as the stay itself. There is clearly an air of finality surrounding this race right now. The leg awards banquet in Stockholm and the final exit to the racecourse really started to feel like the end is near. This adventure is almost over, but we still have one leg to do first. Although we simply have to finish this leg in order to get our second overall, you would never know it on the boat. The boys want to end in style.

There is clearly a lack of pressure aboard. That showed with a mistake when we sailed up to the coast of Estonia (another country that I don't think I would be ever mentioning in a sailboat racing blog), Estonia. Wild. Anyway, we approached with about a half-mile lead that we had gained off the starting line and held all the way across until reaching land. We had a decision to make, and decided to get into the coast and cut through a large rock pile to the beach in order to get to the expected right shift. Problem was, once we committed to go inside the rock pile the wind started to die slowly. No way out but to continue and we sailed in to lighter air while most the other boats gained about a mile and a half on us outside our line, and our friendly rocks.

So, we are now battling back and have crossed to yet another country. Finland. Tick another country box. Actually, it would be fun some day to retrace our path and see how many countries we have sailed in close proximity too. My guess is that it is a lot more that we would imagine. Estonia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan - countries that aren't exactly considered as being hosts to some of the world's highest profile racing events. No slight on any sailing in any of those countries, not in the least. I just don't have Vietnam Race Week on my calendar yet. As soon as this goes out, I am guessing that I will have an e-mail with the time and date of that event in my inbox.

Anyway, a long beat to Russia. This race wouldn't be complete without one more long beat. Nice flat water though. Very civilized sailing with no water on deck at all. The finish line can't come soon enough. There is some serious celebrating that needs to take place.

Volvo Ocean Race

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