Monday, 18 May 2009

VOR: Ericsson 4 Leg Seven Day 2 QFB: received 17.5.09 1457 GMT

by Guy Salter

It’s all come as a bit of a shock to the system. Back onboard and trying to slip back into the routines which will once again be second nature in a day or so. But there are a lot of moments of Déjà vu.

The temperature drop was sudden - just a couple of hours after the start and I was in two thermal layers and a mid layer - close to the max worn in the southern ocean! Warm hats and balaclava's plus gloves are essential on deck.

The thick chilling fog that descended whilst we were Boston Harbour lifted just before sunrise, it was the first time that the weather had not played ball during the Boston stopover after the beautiful sunny weekends - perfect for the thousands of spectators who showed up to support us.

I will always remember the bow of the ship looming out of the fog as we rounded the top mark. The Delta Lloyd boys suffered the most and I’m sure the language on the bridge of the ship would have been pretty blue when the whole Volvo fleet squeezed in front of the vessel - it was almost like the Malacca Straits again (forgetting the fog and the vast temperature difference).

Daylight came early onboard the yacht and we can see six boats clearly - all lined up off the coast of Nova Scotia. The last time I was this close to Nova Scotia was on a Marblehead to Halifax race in the 90s, it was a LOT warmer then but was very foggy and it had taken us a couple of days to get this far!

The sky is grey and gives the feeling of cold weather – I’m sure that if the sky were blue but the temperature was the same, we would feel a lot warmer!

We are jib reaching along and keep sailing through vast areas of Lobster pots - many of which we managed to hook up on the keel, daggerboard and rudders - luckily they seemed to come off relatively easily - but not before that ‘jaws’ moment of the large buoys chasing the boat before they are sucked round the foils to their freedom. I can’t imagine that the forward edges of our foils are in the same immaculate shape as they were less than 24hrs ago when we started.

We can see that the other boats are weaving their way through the lobster pot field. I mentioned to Tony Mutter that there must be a lot of lobster in the area.

“Or maybe not!” he replied. I’d be amazed that the number of lobster is stable after the amount I saw on the menu in the New England area many of which ended up on my plate!). There are several people who help by farming lobster and I know I would be happier if I knew I was eating from a sustainable lobster source.

We are expecting a little more wind in the next few hours and with those even colder temperatures onboard. Hope it doesn’t get too much colder as there isn’t that much clothing left in my bag - and I’m the sort of person who feels warmer in the knowledge that I have at least one more item to go – if I wear everything and feel cold then I know that I won’t be getting any warmer!

Volvo Ocean Race

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