Saturday, 23 May 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 4 LEG SEVEN DAY 7 QFB; received 22.05.09 1209 GMT

Rough weather in the North Atlantic, onboard Ericsson 4, on leg 7 from Boston to Galway. Image copyright Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Guy Salter

It’s nearly impossible to do anything down below - so violent are the movements onboard today that I can’t get any video onto my computer.

The sound is unbelievable - it’s not the classic wind whistling in the rigging, but more the yacht whistling through the air. The sound is a mix between the turbo charge of an engine and the sound of a half filled bottle as you blow over it - only louder.

The problem with the sound is that it usually ends in a large bang as we land on the water once again before skipping aggressively on our way. Thirty knots and above is common place on the scoreboard, but we are often decelerating by 10% or more in the next wave. Once again my arms look like I have had a week on the rack as they have been stretched from hanging on! Typing is very difficult - the keys come up to my fingers, a complete opposite to normal and this short paragraph has taken nearly 30mins to write - I think I am running at 10 swears spoken per word written and have involuntary head butted the screen three times as we nose dive.

Every now and again the roar of a jet engine can be heard only this is the sound of cavitation around the rudders as we struggle to keep the boat on her feet. This boat is a weapon - a weapon of mass destruction and I’m sure in years to come you will need a whole host of certificates to sail it. It’s a credit to its designers and builders as it flies and keeps going - giving the helmsmen the odd second or two of grace to correct any minor errors - although these are rare with our bunch of legends.

As I was filming forward yesterday I took quite a pounding - again in true accident prone Frank Spencer fashion I got wrapped around the shrouds... Luckily my left ' particular' took the impact - I say luckily, when I finally got my breath back the boys were still rolling around laughing. I guess it was like watching the slam section of a skateboard movie where the hand rail always wins!

I have stopped talking like the late great Alan Ball now but I am a bit bruised so I don’t think I will be hitting the beaches of Galway in my 'man-kini' this year.

Sorry ladies

Volvo Ocean Race

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