Saturday, 23 May 2009

VOR: DELTA LLOYD LEG SEVEN DAY 7 QFB: received 22.05.09 0759 GMT

Team Delta Lloyd moving up to third place. The water temparature is rising and the sun is back. Everybody is enjoying being back in the pack and is warming in the sun.
Image copyright Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Wouter Verbraak (navigator)

Fast and safe?

I sat down to write that we are fast and safe, but thinking of it, it is hard to call this sailing safe when we are, most of the time, sailing right on the edge in 30-35 knots of breeze. A better description is wild. Tons and tons of water are crashing over the bow as we accelerating down the waves and spear through the next one.

My four year old son makes us go time and time again to the Volvo Ocean Race simulator. A compilation of some of the most spectacular sailing in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Afterwards people ask me: ‘is it really like that?’ Yes, it is like that and worse, as where the simulator stops after a few minutes, the pounding here is already non-stop since yesterday afternoon, and we are looking at having strong wind conditions for another 24 hours at least.

Through the night we have been sailing with the fractional code zero and a reefed mainsail. This set-up is relatively safe, and the best way to get through the night. Now, with daybreak here, we can see from the position reports that several boats are putting the hammer down again. The big question is will we be able to handle the A6 fractional spinnaker and be faster and lower? Or is the sea state still too bad and is it better to continue with the current set-up?

Still a long way to go to Galway and the first priority is to get there with the boat in one piece. It is hard to hold back when the fleet is putting the throttle down, but we have to be patient I guess and see how the sea state develops. Pitch poling is expensive...

Volvo Ocean Race

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