Saturday, 2 July 2011
Fire hydrant conditions on board CAMPER ETNZ. Image copyright Hamish Hooper/CAMPER/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Volvo Ocean Race media
Chris Nicholson's team enjoyed a wild offshore testing trip. But is "enjoy" really the word for Media Crew Member Hamish Hooper? He describes facing the "constant wall of water" in his blog.
"Trae was knocked over, Stu was struggling to remain upright at the helm, and everyone’s eyes were so red and sore from the salt spray it looked as though we were all on illicit substances.”
“Will Oxley’s forecast was for a nice sail testing out past Great Barrier Island and through the night to the north east of East Cape,” Hamish writes.
Stu Bannatyne shifting the stack. Image copyright Hamish Hooper/CAMPER/Volvo Ocean Race.
“Then the breeze would go soft for 12 hours or so while we sit and wait for the big ‘southerly blast’ booming up the coast from Antarctica, which would catapult us back to Auckland in no time at all, albeit very wet and very cold.”
The wet and cold part was right but otherwise Hamish was in for a surprise.
“Again, as always Will’s report is spot on - well almost. The bit about the sitting around resting in light wind for 12 hours or so, that didn’t happen, as the southerly blast was more intent on smashing its way up the country quicker than expected.
Full CAMPER crew with aft stack, during offshore testing. Image copyright Hamish Hooper/CAMPER/Volvo Ocean Race.
"Luckily I had quite a good sleep, and loaded up on a new seasick remedy to prepare for the trip home. That morning to add to my apprehension Mike Pammenter flippantly commented, 'You haven’t experienced anything yet, Hoops. Today is what I call sailing in fire hydrant conditions.' I asked myself what that was supposed to mean.
"An hour later I got a pretty clear impression of what he meant - as clear as a spade to the head, or in this case a constant wall of water to the face."
Hamish had already been through some rough sailing onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand. This day of testing was another experience he will definitely remember.
“It was quite a ride back to Auckland. Nico, Stu and Chuny all went nuts on the wheel. Now I understand a frequently used term 'sending it'.
"Life on deck is not so simple when 'sending it'. It's dangerous, exhausting, painful but all the while exhilarating. I was nearly winded by a wave which hit me, even though I was 70 foot away from where it hit the boat. Trae was knocked over, Stu was struggling to remain upright at the helm, and everyone’s eyes were so red and sore from the salt spray it looked as though we were all on illicit substances.”
Volvo Ocean Race