Tuesday, 3 March 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG FIVE DAY 17 QFB: received 02.03.09 1101 GMT

by Rick Deppe

Well, once again we have a restart! After more than 5000 miles of racing we are in sight of Ericsson3 and Ericsson 4 with Telefónica lurking just over the horizon.

The days have been rolling one into the next since the equator with only a slight break for us here on Il Mostro when we cut through the Fijian Islands two days ago.

The sailing is relatively easy although it felt like Ericsson 4 was trying to taunt us into a gybing duel.... we ignored them and, over the next few hours while they presumably played the clouds, we sailed straight on and put a couple of much needed miles on them, although as Kenny Read commented, " I don't think we’ve seen the last of them"!

New Zealand and the scoring gate are about 600 miles away, people have been using the easy sailing as an opportunity to prepare themselves and their equipment, repairing neck seals, eating mashed potatoes.... whatever it takes to get ready for the next two weeks that we'll be spending in the Southern Ocean, the jewel in the crown of the race.....

The southern ocean, it’s why people want to do the race and it’s why people keep coming back. A chance to test themselves against the best sailors in the world in the most extreme sailing conditions.

If we imagine that the scoring gate is the start line for the race in the Southern Ocean, we would all now be in Auckland making the final preparations for the leg, shore crew would be crawling all over the boat making their final checks of the onboard systems. Sailors would be eating big healthy diners and hanging with family and friends taking time to say their goodbyes and probably having the odd nervous moment thinking about the leg ahead. The crowds of people at the Viaduct would be increasing every day, the fan base for this race is huge in New Zealand, and all New Zealanders have some knowledge of the race. They would understand what we have ahead of us ...... a daunting 6,500 miles of sailing to South America.

But that’s just in my imagination! When we arrive at the ‘start line’ (scoring gate) in the next day or so, we will have already sailed about 6000 miles. Various bits and pieces are actually hanging off of our boat - some things don't even work anymore. Things leak, items have been lost over the side, we are worried about running out of food... well the nice food anyway. And the crew is knackered. What a way to head into the Southern Ocean!

Volvo Ocean Race

No comments: