Saturday, 18 April 2009

VOR: PUMA LEG SIX DAY 7 QFB: received 17.04.09 1354 GMT

Rob Salthouse onboard PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Kenny Read (skipper)

Getting ahead, digging a hole, battling back. That sums up our little jaunt to the scoring gate. We will take a fourth as it could have been much worse.

As unlucky as we were at the beginning of the leg, that is about as lucky as we were at the end. Any time you sail around a boat that was 10 miles ahead of you with 50 miles to go - good fortune is looking down upon you. And we nearly grabbed a third at the gate as well, getting through the imaginary line at Fernando de Noronha about five boat lengths behind Delta Lloyd. In fact they had to come up to our line and tacked on us to prevent us from getting there ahead of them. All after over 1000 miles of sailing. Amazing.

We are now parked (literally) in the doldrums. We were going 24 knots about an hour ago. Now the speedo reads 2.2 knots and we are heading for South Africa, not South America. Pretty fluky place, but the good news is we all got a much needed shower this morning and - oh yeah - we missed two water spouts that were forming right next to us.

One fairly large one was forming about two miles to windward and the other - a small one was literally forming about five lengths in front of us. We were ripping along at 20 knots at the time and Salty (Rob Salthouse) said, "That looks a lot like the beginning of a water spout." We all told him to have his head examined and within seconds the water started foaming up under the slender little cloud above it.

Yikes. Keen eye, that Salty has. We all just looked at each other and I said, hang on. Which we did. And nothing happened. It disappeared as fast as it was born.

(Sorry just had to take a half hour off from writing this as what looked like a simple little patch of rain turned into a 20 knot squall and sent us careening down the track. All the sails not in use were on the bow at the time. We decided as a team that losing all the sails overboard in a nose dive would probably be really bad, so we moved them back.)

Now we have to chip our way through this weather minefield. The best or the luckiest will win the battle and get to the trades first and get a sizable jump on the rest so there is all to play for. Just hope the path we choose to get through is the lucky one.

All good aboard the fine yacht and actually glad to have that scoring gate over with and really glad to be in the hunt. Out in the open ocean again. Boston here we come. Go Sox.

Volvo Ocean Race

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