Thursday, 19 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 32 QFB: received 17.03.09 0217 GMT

Rough weather in the Southern Ocean onboard Telefonica Blue, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Simon Fisher (helmsman)

Twenty-four hours on and the furious fifties have got a little more furious! The wind has been steadily building and the sea state has been building to match. Added to this there is a big south westerly swell rolling in resulting in some waves that are really very big and very steep.

Luckily with our new, bigger rudders, we have a little more control than in the past to deal with these monsters, but, inevitably, there are some waves that you go down that you just cannot escape. You take off downhill and see the boat speed rising into the thirties, the bow starts to bury as you are frantically looking for a way out, however sometimes all the exits are closed so you have no choice but to brace yourself and prepare for impact!

The spray pitches up as the nose goes under and you feel the boat decelerate. All of a sudden the boat is pointed 45 degrees down. At this stage, you can see nothing but water and you hang on hoping to maintain control, the spray settles, hopefully you are still going straight and then you are off again until the next one!!

Despite the toughening conditions, it has at times, been a beautiful day with bright sunshine and a bright blue sea, however, when the clouds roll over, the sea quickly changes back to its cold grey colour as if someone has switched the colour off and turned the surroundings into black and white once again...

The sun is just setting now though and darkness is encroaching, this means more excitement as we can no longer see the waves that we were hurtling down earlier in the day...

Volvo Ocean Race

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