Sunday, 22 February 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG FIVE DAY 8 QFB: received 21.02.09 1552 GMT

Bowman Martin Krite takes in the reefs during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race en route to Rio De Janeiro. Image copyright Gustav Morin/Ericsson 3/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Gustav Morin (media crew member)

Magnus Olsson is disappointed. Not with the team and our efforts. With that part he is very happy. Not the least since we are keeping up with the front guys when we started seven hours after them. Just starting this leg was an effort itself.

But he is disappointed with the wildlife of the first part of this route. Magnus is a friend of the animals. It has been said that during a previous race he found a spider onboard soon after the start and managed to make it survive for 30 days, until the finish.

We have seen no animals so far in these waters where no one onboard has ever been before. No dolphins, no whales, no cool birds. No nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. We had a fly-fish visiting yesterday morning.

"It will be different in the Southern Ocean which is full of life. The birds down there are just fantastic", says Magnus who has a big fascination of the Albatrosses and their way of sweeping over the surface and diving between the waves without moving their wings.

We are soon entering the tricky Doldrums again. It now seems, looking on the satellite pictures, like we are in a good position to make a good way through the first section.

But you can never be sure of anything this close to the equator. The picture can change completely in very short time and we are all preparing for ‘squall-hours’ with no wind one second and fully powered up the next. It feels like it has already started.

During the day we could breathe out a bit with just around 15 knots of wind, calm sea and sunny sky. We were still heeling quite a bit, sailing with the wind from 70 degrees true, but there was not much water on deck and for a while we could even open up the aft hatch to let some air in under deck. Talk about relief. A normal person wouldn't believe the smell we live in. It's always a bit tough to go down below when you've been on deck and got some fresh air in your nose. But you get used to it quicker than you would think. There’s just nothing you can do about it.

At the time I wrote the last sentence, Eivind (Eivind Melleby/NOR) put his feet just in front of my nose. He was about to jump out of his bunk and I'm sitting just below it. That is over the limit.

The nice weather did not last for long. Now the boat is whistling its way forward again. It is pretty bumpy with 20 knots of wind and a wind direction of 80 degrees.

The next 24 hours will probably be quite interesting.

Volvo Ocean Race

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