Boston to Galway, an Atlantic sprint for the seven boat fleet

Aside from some excitement avoiding a freighter shortly after the start, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has set out from Boston for it’s transatlantic dash to Galway.

Light winds for the start of leg 7 on Saturday saw Telefonica Blue take an early advantage, something the rest of the fleet is beginning to get used to when the breeze is down. But if their opponents aimed to keep Bouwe Bekking and his crew in sight they were to be disappointed as the fog rolled in and shrouded the fleet.

“Nearly crashed into power boat, which came in 90 degrees on our course, we think there weren’t more than a couple of centimetres in between us; it could have been very ugly,” reported Bekking. “After that we have seen nothing other than fog. We know from the position reports that we have been going all right, and holding a small lead. We have already passed the most northern point of whale exclusion zone and we are heading out to the Atlantic. It is a bit nippy on deck, so the first gloves have appeared and everybody is wearing their woollen hat.”

Team mates Telefonica Black also had a small drama.

“At 2015 GMT we found some water coming in around the keel and we promptly slowed down,” reported navigator Roger Nilson. “After a good investigation and tightening the seal around the top of the keel box, we could continue at full speed. Unfortunately we lost our lead and in total about three nm. We could see Telefónica Blue and PUMA screaming by, very close in the fog as we dropped our speed. After two hours work from David Vera, we were racing full on again.”

Ericsson 3 had their share of dramas too.

“The visibility was more than poor,” reported Gustav Morin. “When there were only a couple of minutes left to the mark we suddenly saw an enormous tanker coming out from the mist and steering straight towards us. It was surrounded by police boats with screaming sirens and I believe the captain was pretty irritated when we tacked straight in front of the ship to quickly come around the mark.

“Delta Lloyd tried to sneak in in front of us but we closed the gap and they had to sail around the ship before they could hoist. It felt pretty edgy to tack in front of an enormous ship coming in 10 knots. But we got away with it.”

For Ian Walker and the Green Dragon team, departing Boston is the first step towards a return to the team’s home waters, something that wasn’t lost on a particular Irish dignitary.

“The Mayor of Galway came over to send us on our way and we were treated to fantastic Irish singing and dancing. The Green Dragon is on its way home.”

No pressure then?!

The fleet is expected into Galway this coming weekend.