Sunday, 19 April 2009

VOR: GREEN DRAGON LEG SIX DAY 8 QFB: received 18.04.09 1057 GMT

Skipper Ian Walker takes time out to catch up on all the latest sailing news, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Ian Walker (skipper)

It’s been an exciting 24 hours for us. First we gained lots of miles in the doldrums getting within sight of Ericsson 3 and Telefónica Black at one stage and then we had a third and final visit from King Neptune as this is the first time James Carroll has ever sailed across the Equator.

King Chuan (Neptune) and Queen 'Freddy Shanks' Codfish did a fine job of both their own outfits and conducting a rather prolonged ceremony. Clearly they had had plenty of time to prepare and Jimbo was the victim of everyone’s willingness to have some fun.

Guo forced James to repeat his confessions in Chinese and he was of course found guilty of all his 'crimes'. Punishments included the normal whipping, covering in food slops, administering of flying fish and, as Jimbo is the boat captain, he was forced to scrub the foredeck with the washing up brush. Phil 'the scissors' Harmer got in on the act and shaved the top of James' dense hair in his own words to make him 'look like the skipper' because 'that what was done to him'. Jimbo will be the one wearing a hat in Boston. Sorry Jimbo but you took it well - don't forget to put sun cream on your head like I have to!

Back on the race track the Doldrums had plenty of rain clouds and sail changes but the bottom line was we kept moving well in the right direction most of the time. It was crucial that we went well through this stage as four days of power reaching lie ahead of us.

We are now settled into reaching in 20 knot NE Trade winds which means we can rattle off over 400 miles per day straight at Boston - something that is unusual for this race so far.

We have just broken the bearings in the starboard steering system but replacements are onboard and being fitted as I type. Clearly a whole week on the same tack was too much for it! The next few days should be tactically tedious but nice sailing.

Volvo Ocean Race

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