A selection of today's blogs as the fleet prepares itself for a wet and wild 3,000 mile ride

“In the old Volvo 60s, 40 kts would be towards upper end of racing mode, in these boats 40kts is a lot more like survival mode,’ says Ericsson 4’s media man Guy Salter.

ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 16 QFB: received 1130GMT 26-10-08

Last 2 days has been really good for us. We had good conditions of downwind sailing with winds from 12-18 knots. During the night the sky has been beautiful, full of stars and all crew are really enjoying it.

We are leading the fleet at the moment with Puma really close to us and it’s been difficult to know how many days there were when we both didn’t see each other after more then 2 weeks of racing!

Sailing along the Brazilian coast has been great and makes me feel a bit at home, be back in 6 month Brazil!!. We are starting our head to the east and it looks like the next few days will be really intense with some strong winds. That will help us to run some miles and be closest to the finish line. Looks like the battle for the lead will be really close.

It’s midday here and our lunch time is getting close. Menu of the day is Chicken Korma, best preference from all crew. But we are all looking forward for a big steak in Cape Town!

Good winds,
Joca Signorini – trimmer

MCM Note
There has been a lot of activity onboard today with everyone triple checking their areas ready for the mighty kicking we are about to receive. After all, it would be a shame to get some gear damage and lose our chance at a shot of a podium finish! Nobody is really looking forward to sailing in 40kts – but it should be fast.

In the old Volvo 60s, 40 kts would be towards upper end of racing mode, in these boats 40kts is a lot more like survival mode. It will be bumpy, wet and bloody uncomfortable but hopefully fast. Looks like we may have a big light air spot to get through – just hope that the lottery looks upon us favourably.


Guy Salter – MCM


Listen to Magnus Olsson’s audio blog.

GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 16: received 26.10.08 0955 GMT

Anybody who knows me well will tell you that I am not a great one for sitting around drinking tea, nor does making tea figure too highly up my agenda. Having said that, I do like a nice cup of tea every now and then. There aren’t many luxuries on a Volvo 70 so a nice cup of tea goes down well onboard if you are prepared to do battle with the galley to make one.

Twice now I have done this, only to make the tea, go back on deck, sit down and find out that the tea bags are some kind of green or herbal tea – plus powdered milk of course. Tom kindly made the tea going off watch last night and I was treated to green tea with cranberry juice plus milk!

I can’t tell you the disappointment this brings. Kim (who by the way does a fantastic job sorting out all our food and clothing etc) if you are listening, herbal tea bags may be OK for girls and hippies, but have no place on this boat. I’ve just been through and thrown every dodgy tea bag overboard to prevent this happening again.

Back to the race and not much has happened really. Ericsson 4 and Puma continue to sail faster than us and we have held off Telefónica Black. All our efforts are going into the onslaught that lies ahead. The router suggests we will do the final 3400 miles in 7 days which is nearly 500 miles per day. Considering we are in light winds all day today that can only mean some big days ahead. Reliability will be key. Tom Braidwood has discovered some sheared bolts in the steering system which could have caused trouble and he is now servicing the generator. In 24 hours time it will be hard to do anything onboard. I have prepared my dry suit, boots and safety kit and caught up on a lot of sleep.

For everyone at home this race is about to get interesting as all the boats behind get the wind further north and cut the corner on the leaders. The boats should align north south and it will look like a fairly equal dash for Cape Town. Those that do not keep up with the pace of the front will drop off the back of the system and lose hundreds of miles. It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen to us. Don’t expect too much typing from me over the next week.

Ian Walker – skipper

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 26 QFB: received 26.10.08 0655 GMT

‘All is well tonight here on Telefónica Blue. Nice downwind sailing…I hope you are having a nice evening in RHQ.’ These were the words from Sifi (Simon Fisher), our navigator, to let the race headquarters know we are all-right.

We have to report this once a day, but at least the duty officer back in England has something to do as well. As far as I know all the duty officers are girls and they are amazingly friendly, helpful and very often remind us of things. Wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but thanks girls for what you are doing for us!!

Not a lot is happening, we changed several times sails, but the repaired spinnaker is not performing at all, so we decided to keep it in the bag. In the America’s Cup you are allowed to do a so-called chase boat drop. This means you let go all the ropes and the spinnaker falls in the water and get picked up by your chase boat. If we had a chase boat here, the spinnaker would have been long gone, as it is ‘lemon’ and not a lot of use for us.

Some Brazilian will find sooner or later one shoe, as one has fallen in the tide. Iker (Martinez) was missing his shoe for several days, but last night it appeared when we hoisted the repaired spinnaker,…………it was packed inside the spinnaker, so when the sock opened the shoe appeared, it made one bounce on the deck, and decided to jump ship. Talking of shoes, Jono (Jonathan Swain) is getting a bit twitchy to know how far south the route will take us into Cape Town, as he only has brought shoes. If we go very far south the water will be freezing, so cross fingers it doesn’t get too bad for him.


Bouwe Bekking – skipper

Kenny Read – PUMA

Every once and a while you have extraordinary days. They can be good or bad. So from time to time when a particular day stands out I will document it for you all. Kind of shows how basic our lives really are out here. Nothing to do with the racing, just life as we know it on ‘The Monster’. Here goes:

1- Woke up and actually brushed my teeth and washed my face. Amazing

2- Just before sunrise I had a live radio interview with a ‘shock jock’ in
Cape Town and the guy asked why we were all sailing down the South American coast and if we actually knew where Cape Town was? He had a great point, and I didn’t even try to answer it. He promised me a cold beer when we arrived.

3- I went to the bathroom without having to grip on to the walls and hope that I didn’t get tossed off the toilet while flying off of a wave.

4- Went on deck for extended periods without a dry top on. Rubber neck and wrist seals become a little clammy in this heat. Very refreshing.

5- Changed my underwear. Need I say more?

6- Shaved. Unreal experience especially in the heat.

7- Today was my day for clean up duty. Scrubbed the head, galley, leeward side of the boat and bailed every drop out of each section. Felt really good about the job I did. Hopefully my wife isn’t reading this as her immediate thought will be ‘why doesn’t the dumb ass do that at home?’.

8- Had a Kit Kat bar to celebrate my ‘Great Day’. Can’t begin to describe how good it tasted.

Kenny Read – skipper