Thursday, 11 June 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG EIGHT DAY 4 QFB: received 09.06.09 2211 GMT

Leaving the Rotterdam Gate Race, on leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Galway to Marstrand. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Gabriele Olivo

This race is seriously dangerous for your health...

This morning we entered the windward leeward in front of Amsterdam [SailRaceWin: This was actually Rotterdam!] just after seeing all the other guys flying away with the spinnaker towards Denmark while we were still upwind.

When we finally hoisted the chute we were feeling quite ‘lonely’ looking at all the spectators boats and thinking ‘yes we're last, this is the end of show, now you can go back home, thanks for coming...’, but things were about to change dramatically once again.

During the first position report after sailing the loop, we realised that Ericsson 3 was missing and that they probably got caught out of the pressure. So we weren't last anymore. A big relief and a shy smile appeared on some of the boys, especially when we started catching up with Delta Lloyd. Hour after hour we reduce the distance from eight miles down to zero, until we overtook them. ‘Who said Telefónica Blue was slow downwind???’ Today was an historical moment for us, after spending the whole race trying to optimise our ‘Yellow submarine’, finally we did it!!!

We finally overtook a competitor downwind in heavy air and we were the fastest boat on a position report!! Of course there is the other side to the coin, sailing the boat with double standby is really hard work, but it pays off when you see the results. And what a result!

After overtaking Delta Lloyd we found out that PUMA had got caught on the wrong side of the low for gybing too late and Ericsson 4 is just 10 miles ahead. Today we've been taken from hell to heaven directly, in a matter of a few hours... only thinking about what happened today makes my head ache...

Surely there is someone in a world of pain right now, thinking ‘this isn't a yacht race, this is a divine punishment’. But as never before, during this leg conditions change so quickly and are out of our control so we have to be calm and wait until we cross the finish line.

Another crazy 24 hours until the end.

Volvo Ocean Race

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