Comfort is not a word that immediately springs to mind when describing conditions on board Volvo Ocean 60s, particularly upwind
Comfort is not a word that immediately springs to mind when describing conditions on board Volvo Ocean 60s, particularly upwind. These out-and-out, lightweight racing machines are designed to be worked to the limit leaving little space for anything but essential race-winning ingredients. The interiors are sparse with nothing but bunks sandwiched between each other, a galley pod, heads, communication equipment, engines, water makers, cameras and safety equipment.
The most human place, be it a little cramped, is the nav station which, on the Frers-designed Amer Sport One is positioned just aft of the main hatch. Having said that, the thought of plotting a course in the extreme conditions found deep in the Southern Ocean, is not one to be envied.
The crew aboard Amer Sport One are already feeling the effects of the inhuman conditions on board: “It has been baptism by fire for a few of the lads as they haven’t been tossed around like this for a while and these boats are very uncomfortable. With our galley situated so far forward and with nothing to brace against, cooking has also been a bit of a trick. We’re now looking forward to heading for the sun.”
The illbruck team has also had its fair share of ups and downs in the rough conditions. As well as several crew members suffering with seasickness, there’s been some damage on board. The sewing machine came loose from its stowage on a particularly savage wave and severed the standpipe from one of the seacocks. “Thankfully it severed the pipe just above the waterline,” said Ian Moore (illbruck’s co navigator) “but every time we dropped off a wave we had a miniature Trevi Fountain in the forepeak. Waffler (Stu Bettany), our resident rigger come plumber, was able to rebuild it in typical Kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ bodge-it fashion.”