Friday, 20 March 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG FIVE DAY 34 QFB: received 19.03.09 1456 GMT

The toy horse which was given to Xabier Fernandez sits on top of the crews Cape Horn sign. The horse has become a mascot for the crew onboard and will be re-united with Xabier's son when they reach Rio de Janeiro, before they set off with it again on leg 6. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Bouwe Bekking (skipper)

Just went in great style around Cape Horn. Not meaning blasting around, the opposite is true, only four knots of breeze, so it gave us a splendid opportunity to have a real rounding party.

The cigars were out, home brewed grappa was served and each of us got a golden earring. Plenty of time for individual pictures and interviews, with a big sign Cabo de Hornos in front and the Cape on the background.

David Vera and Mike Pammenter were, on this occasion, allowed to pose in their Speedo swim shorts, as that is what they wear on Telefónica Negro when it is warm. But here onboard we have the rule to wear ‘proper’ clothing, so they can pack them away until Rio, where they probably will exchange them for some tangas instead.

This was my seventh rounding, and number four in very little wind, even now I’m not sure what I prefer. The breeze gives you the classic rounding, but in little wind there is more enjoyment and actually the opportunity to live the moment is more intense. Of course this was a way better rounding then last time, when the night before we nearly sank. We talked a fair bit about that experience and still realize how lucky we were at that time. But we talked as well about the old days when the square riggers came around; they must have sometimes been completely handed over to the will of King Neptune and praying for survival when rounding in a gale.

Yesterday we had some big breeze, up to 35 knots and beam reaching, so the fire hose was continuously on and very uncomfortable on deck and downstairs as we were slamming hard. I gave up trying to count the number of slams in minute, as it was nearly every second we bounced off the waves. We had to slow down, and hoisted a small staysail. So today is the complete opposite. Now slowly heading north and every mile we sail it will get warmer, especially good news for some of the Spanish guys, who still and never will get used to colder temperatures.

Volvo Ocean Race

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