Wednesday, 25 March 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG FIVE DAY 39 QFB: received 24.03.09 1800 GMT

Green Dragon's snacks are rationed and assigned to each crew member, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Ian Walker (skipper)

We are still in the grips of the ever expanding high pressure. Last night and this morning was the calmest I have ever seen the sea. We went hours and hours without even seeing a ripple on the surface.

The crew continues to work hard to move forwards as every mile we get north will help us get in the wind sooner. Right now it looks like we will have to endure another six days to get to Rio. Not good considering our first ETA four days ago was tomorrow!

Our fuel situation has become critical as the alternator on the generator isn't working and we have to charge off the main engine which takes more fuel. We have switched off all non essentials and are trying not to move the keel (which draws a lot of power) and have calculated we have six days left. I think it will still take us six days to get to Rio but I am scared of making any more predictions. We have approximately five meals left and a bit of porridge so nobody will starve, but this is on top of being hungry for weeks - each watch now has its own ration pack and a black market is rapidly developing.

I continue to be impressed by the team's professionalism and good humour in the face of adversity.

The highlight of today was a school of yellow fin tuna circling the boat and Phil Harmer's attempt to spear one with a knife taped to a batten. Unfortunately the only net result was some lost porridge thrown in the water to try and attract them closer. We should have used Beef Jerky but couldn't bring ourselves to throw it over the side as bait. Maniac (Chris Main) is determined to catch a turtle but thus far we have stopped him from jumping in on top of one as they swim past. I am not quite sure what we would do with it if he did catch one and I suspect they are a protected species so we will refrain. Besides I like turtles.

I am not one to dwell too long on any misfortune. Last night I lay on the foredeck looking up at the mast and sails listening to my iPod pondering our situation and I thought of all the thousands of people who would love to go sailing across an ocean on a fantastic boat like this and those who never had that chance. We have that opportunity and we will continue to make the most of it despite less than ideal circumstances. See you in Rio soon I hope!

Volvo Ocean Race

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