Thursday, 26 February 2009


by Simon Fisher (helmsman)

Things got a little tricky for us as, at some point last night, we wandered into what is something of a minefield. I went up on deck last night for what I was expecting to be a fairly mundane four hours of sailing, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

One massive cloud after another had us speeding along at 25 knots in anything from 15 to 30 knots of breeze. There has been no let up either. When day broke and we escaped the third or fourth big cloud we thought that we might be getting a slightly easier time of it, however it has proven not to be the case.

Throughout the whole day we have dodged past cloud after cloud, sometimes getting caught up and other times escaping by merely the skin of our teeth. Each cloud brings driving rain, massive wind-shifts, big gusts and potential calms so there is certainly plenty to keep us on our toes.

Unfortunately right now we are negotiating one of the aforementioned calms and are struggling in 2-3 knots of wind after hours of sailing in the driving rain. Hopefully we will escape the clutches of this beast soon and we will be allowed get on our way, but it certainly looks like the next few hours are going to be a little tricky and the next few scheds will need to be looked at with a positive frame of mind!

With all the rain about today, there has been something of a shower- fest with everyone taking the opportunity to try and clean up a bit. This is certainly a better tactic than applying copious amounts of cologne to mask an already unpleasant smell, but is a risky game all the same! Get caught out covered in soap when the rain stops and your are either forced to wait for the next cloud or resign yourself to rinsing in salt water ending up back where you started...

However, this is all moot really as, despite being beautifully rinsed and cleaned, I have just returned to finish this after escaping the calms I mentioned just before, and, after the mother of all sail changes, I am soaked to the skin and once again caked in salt. Oh well... that’s life I guess!

Volvo Ocean Race

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