Read the latest blogs from the Volvo Ocean fleet
The last 48 hours have been filled with highs and lows for the crews onboard during leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cochin, India. Read their blogs here???.
“It’s been another day of wind and water on Delta Lloyd. Except for one day on this trip, we’ve been soaking wet continuously on deck. Now that we are traveling north, the wetness is from sea water above deck and sweat down below. It is very, very hot on the boat now.
We have a problem with a broken hose on our fresh water maker tonight. Our water tank just went dry, so we are completely out of water until we can make the repair. Without fresh water we can’t eat or drink, because all of our food must be hydrated before we can eat it. Hopefully we’ll have water again in a couple hours.”
“It’s been a pretty wet 24 hours aboard the good ship Ericsson 4! We have been sailing along making a very high average boatspeed. Not quite record pace, but very close. We have a wind angle of roughly 100 degrees. Anything in that sort of region means some serious fire hosing on deck!
For Ryan Godfrey and I, this is where we get a sort of revenge on the rest of the crew. We spend our lives completely underwater up on the foredeck while the other boys take great delight in laughing at us. At this angle, they get a taste of it, but still no way near as bad as at the front end. It humours us to hear them complaining about the water.
We got our first sighting of Ericsson 3, four hours ago. She is roughly 8 miles dead astern of us, and sailing a very good race. I imagine we’ll be tied together for a while now. It is quite good to have another boat in sight as it pushes you to race a bit harder.
We’ve had a few crimes onboard recently… The latest one was in the toilet. I won’t go into detail, but I can assure you, it wasn’t pretty. Another crime was the loss of the serving spoon, which Dave Endean decided to throw overboard with the leftover food. We are now stirring our meals with a winch handle! In Dave’s defence, he was handed the pot in pitch-blackness and asked to ditch the food overboard. There is another culprit involved…
Everything else seems to be rumbling along okay. We’ve had our fair share of breakdowns, downtime and bad luck in this leg. We’re just doing our best to minimise all that nasty stuff and keep the bow pointing toward India.
Crew are doing well with only minor injuries, which is a good thing. Tony (Tony Mutter/NZL) is enjoying being back on the yacht. He’s being extra careful not to hurt himself. I guess he just doesn’t want me near him with the medical kit again!”
Phil ‘Blood’ Jameson
“Man, it surely is bumpy out here! It must have something to do with this piece of ocean as I remember the same crashing and banging going the other way in 2005.
In the then Oryx Quest maxi-cat non-stop around the world race, we were sailing south on Playstation. Owned by Steve Fosset, this legendary 120′ cat had just added a new round the world record to her list of accomplishments and, with a crew of 13, we set off again from Doha, Qatar, to lap the planet yet one more time, now racing five other max-cats.
The race went well and we rounded Cape Horn in second place. Here we were sent north to a waypoint of Uruguay to prevent us going through the iceberg area in the South Atlantic. We were never to reach this waypoint as we broke our rig 400nm north of the Falklands?.
Fortunately, an Argentinean navy vessel on patrol in the area came to our help and towed us to mainland Argentina. We were all stunned by the level of organisation onboard the vessel as we spent two days under tow, eating the most delicious food in the officers’ mess and enjoying a warm shower after 35 days at sea.
Once on terra firma, we decided to choose a big pickup truck over a plane to get to Buenos Aires. I share good memories with Anders Lewander, now skipper on Ericsson 3, of this trip as he was one of the crew as well. Two days through desolate country, then over the green Pampayas and into BA. Not quite the end of the journey we envisaged when leaving Doha, but certainly a great trip.
Before leaving for the 2005 Oryx Quest, I bought my wife three bottles of wine. One for the rounding of each major cape. An Australian red for Cape Leeuwin, a Chilean Cab Sauv for Cape Horn and a Zonnebloem South African wine for Cape of Good Hope. The condition for consumption was to invite some friends over to share it with, once I rounded each of the capes. All very good, but the South African wine has been gathering dust for the last three years.
On this leg though, the last Cape has been rounded, and I am sure this weekend my wife will go down to the basement, blow the dust of it and share it with some of our friends.
At the same time, out here in the Indian Ocean, I am crossing the old track and realised earlier today that now the lap of the planet is more or less complete. In February this year, we sailed the Buenos Aires to Rio race on the 90′ Rambler (skippered by Ken Read. Is this sailing world small or what?), so really what I am missing is the tiny little bit from Rio around to where we sailed south along the Brazilian coast in leg one of this race. Or does the road trip through Argentina not count? Mmmmmh, not sure, I could be done for cheating?guess I have to do those bits on leg five and six. Should I buy my wife and friends a bottle of Champagne for that? Certainly a good excuse for a party!”
Wouter Verbraak – Navigator
“Hi There. With the crunching of carbon yesterday that was the sound of our port daggerboard exploding into a several pieces, again everything changed for us and life got a whole lot tougher.
We have had the rug pulled out from under us somewhat. The reaching that we were so looking forward to during the previous days as we felt we would be in good shape to make gains, has now become an exercise in damage limitation. Rather than eagerly awaiting the scheds to see if we have gained, I now grimly await them, hoping that the loss in miles isn’t going to be too great. Fortunately, so far, we are hanging in there, by the skin of our teeth and, with any luck, if the wind lifts us a little then the losses will be less severe. Sadly, though, we cannot count on the wind being kind to us, so we have to be smart and manage our position relative to the fleet so we are well placed for opportunities down the track.
Despite the situation, we are trying hard to keep our chins up and the motivation high. After working so damn hard to get back into this yacht race, no one is going to roll over just yet.
Up on deck, wave after wave of spray comes pelting back on the guys as they are driving the boat as hard as they dare, and below decks I am sitting here, more often than not, staring at the computer looking at numbers and graphs going across the screen, trying to seize upon any moment that we might be able to go a little bit faster and still hold our position in the fleet.
This is how it is set to continue for the next 36 hours at least. And then the doldrums start which is another whole challenge all together. I think it is going to be a long couple of days!”
Simon Fisher – navigator
I’d love to tell you that today is very different from yesterday, but it is not. We are still blast reaching at about 20 knots across the southeast trade winds. The important thing is, we are making good time as we are approaching the part of the trip where the crew demand to know how far it is to go more and more – before long it will have to be on every electronic display on deck!
It is pretty hard to move around down below as the boat shudders and shakes, but there is no violent slamming motion that you get jumping waves downwind or the abrupt deceleration of nosedives.
The best way to judge the motion of the boat is by how easy or hard it is to go to the toilet as the head is up in the bow forward of the mast. Sailing upwind in waves, this is almost an impossibility, blasting downwind and you have to brace yourself and get your timing right or else it can get very messy and today it is OK, but not comfy enough to sit there and read the joke book (in fact nobody can read the Great South African Joke book, which was the only reading material we had onboard, as I managed to drop it in the bowl, thanks to a bad wave at the wrong time).
The main key to all of this is to not let anybody on deck know you are going to the head or else the helm will do their best to throw you off the bowl at any opportunity! We have to have something to amuse ourselves!
Anyway enough of that, what about the race. Well, people are lining up for the Doldrums which are just over a day away, with Ericsson 4 seemingly having a change of heart and diving north for a more direct crossing near Diego Garcia. The Telefónicas are out west with Puma in the middle near the Ericsson boats.
We are holding the eastern flank while Delta Lloyd and Team Russia are further east behind. It is not too late to change your minds and this is what we are trying to decide now. To be honest, everyone looks to be heading for near enough the same area, which, I guess, is no surprise as we are all looking at the same weather files with the same software.
A few days ago there looked to be very wide options, but that is less so today. In a nutshell, there looks to be better wind to the east, but it means sailing more miles and at a worse angle to the wind. Going direct (in the west) is very appealing but looks easier for the leaders than those behind, as the Doldrums are expanding in this area. With such a tight race, even a few hours of no wind could make the difference between first and fifth. You play poker with the Doldrums at your peril!”
Ian Walker – skipper