Friday, 22 May 2009

VOR: TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG SEVEN DAY 5 QFB: received 20.05.09 1815 GMT

Sail changing for Laurent Pages, onboard Telefonica Blue, on leg 7 from Boston to Galway. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Tom Addis (navigator)

Finally around the ice box and into another chapter of the race. Out of the fog, cold water and radar watching and into ‘sailing around the high’ stuff in 19 degree water.

Also great to be in open water again with no crab pots and fog which turn the situation into a bizarre twist on Deadliest Catch, where the crabs try to catch the boat. I almost yelled out ‘MOTHER LOAD!!!’ once with one big haul around multiple foils, but managed to hold back as it would have confused Jordi Calafat even more about which way to turn the boat.

We just about feel as though we are back into the race after our group’s expensive escapade for the scoring gate points. We had quite mixed feelings as soon as we crossed, great to get the maximum points before the sudden realisation of the size of the job ahead of us to catch the boats who chose to ignore the scoring gate and who were now well ahead of us. At this stage of the overall race, every team has a different agenda when it comes to grabbing points, some going for leg wins, some for points against other boats in particular and some just going for points overall. It still makes it hard when the scoring gate is so much at odds with the long term strategy of the leg though!

Almost back with the top of the fleet now after a really good night last night, we chose to press up quite hard against the ice fence and made good gains on the guys further offshore than us. It was not easy to get the positioning that we wanted with very unstable conditions around the first ice box corner, but we got there in the end. When the fog lifted this morning, we had a much nicer painting in front of us with Ericsson 4 on the bow, Delta Lloyd to the south and going back and PUMA behind them and going back further and faster.

We’ve now squeezed around the high, which has given us the soft reaching conditions for the last 24hrs and it’s into some nice gentle running before a frontal build tonight which will see some action to keep us very busy for the next few days into Galway. Every time a satellite pass comes in, the dramatic looking line with the shift and pressure is ever closer. There will be a gybe in there somewhere with one last bit of the ice box to deal with; hopefully we won’t be faced with the same dilemma as at the scoring gate reconciling long term and short term plans. That’s this afternoon’s project for me.

Its Daryl Wislang’s birthday today, we tend to get things that remind us of home as presents and with him being a Kiwi and me an Aussie, many of his food presents are great home reminders for me too! Just had my last pineapple lump – I promise...... I just knew there had to be an upside to associating with Kiwis!!! Ha Ha. Happy birthday Daryl.

Volvo Ocean Race

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