Monday, 16 May 2011

VOR: CAMPER's Qualifying Sail Day 6 - What Sailing a Volvo Open 70 is all about

The Three Kings Islands at sunset. Image copyright Hamish Hooper.

by Hamish Hooper

The human mind is a curious thing. Here I was spending too much time inside my own mind trying to battle through the last few days, when I wake up to a beautiful calm sunrise, some good news, and almost immediately the thoughts of how tough the last few days were have evaporated. I don’t understand our intrinsic ability to block out the bad and embrace the good, but I’m glad we are wired that way and I’ll go with it.

I guess this might be the key to why so many of these guys come back to the Volvo race time after time. Either that or they are dumb – and I’m pretty sure its not the later.

The guys are rewarded with my new found positivity and profit with something I have been unable to face until today- a full English cooked breakfast... freeze dried of course. They love it. A few of the crew are beginning to stress out a bit- about how to tell Jess, our team chef, that they think my cooking is better then hers when we get back. They are stunning liars.

And so we sail northward. The highlight of the day was looking south and seeing a white speck on a hill, that is the lighthouse at Cape Reinga. A sight you don’t see everyday. I’ve been there before, close to 20 years ago – it was cold and windy. Not like today, today is ideal.

On we roll, heading to our waypoint 50 miles further, at the Three Kings Islands, timed to perfection for sunset. Good work Will. The moment makes Andy McLean emotional – emotional about what he is going to do to any drink or food put in front of him upon arrival back to Auckland tomorrow. I feel a similar emotion.

With the near full moon flood lighting the clear night sky, a building breeze from the north & the helm spinning toward the south- it reminds me of a certain Simon & Garfunkel song. I’m pretty sure this is what a hardened sailors idea of romantic could be? I have the feeling that tonight is different to all of the past nights on the Round NZ tour and qualifying sail. Everyone wants to actually be up on watch and feeling the power of CAMPER doing what she is meant. And its not all about sailing into the wind – although we are very good at that by now.

Finally I might get a true sense of what this Volvo 70 sailing is all about. I’m going on deck to get soaked...

Note from SailRaceWin: From our knowledge of Andy McLean, we believe that he is more likely to have "waxed lyrical" than been "emotional" on the subject of food...

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand
Volvo Ocean Race