Paul Cayard, skipper of Pirates of the Caribbean, describes the first few hours into Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Date2 January at 2045 UTC

That was a crazy start. I haven’t been on a boat without steerage for years. And it happened not just once but a few times in the first two hours of the race. Boat were backing down, gybing upwind, it was chaotic.

The start itself wasn’t bad. We had about 5 knots of wind and the fleet got off the line all pretty even. Movistar had a nice jump at the committee boat end. That was just the beginning of the show though. After that, the wind basically died and came from a variety of directions, all at less than 2 knots. We finally got to the first mark of the course – 2.5 miles from the start – 1 hr and 45 minutes after starting. Then when we approached the mark, the wind died and the current pushed us back away from it. ABN Amro 2 got around it that first time and looked to be gone. We eventually gybed around (tacking was not possible) and went for another shot at it. At one point on our second approach, we had gotten our boat speed up to a knot. But sure enough, just as we were getting close to the mark, the wind died again. We were alongside the mark so the current pushed us into it. The mark was also about 100 metres from a very large container ship. So with no steerage and no wind and some current, this whole situation was tricky and frustrating. We eventually got clear of the mark and did our penalty turn and got out of there. The whole fleet sailed into a south-westerly breeze so thereafter.

Movistar did a nice job through it all and is leading. Brasil 1 who had a lot of troubles with the mark and did a penalty turn as well was last for a while. They played the shore nicely and seem to have good speed to move into second place. We have been in third for a long time but just recently Ericsson Racing Team has pulled up even with us. We are all on port tack now leaving the South African coast on a southerly course.

We are expecting to be on port of four or five hours while a small trough goes through, then to tack onto starboard for most of the day tomorrow. Tomorrow evening we will tack back onto port and cross the high pressure ridge to find the ‘highway’ of strong westerly winds in a few days time to take us to the east at a fast rate of speed.

The conditions are very pleasant, 15 knots and smooth seas. We broke our radar off the mast during one of the tacks so we will have to fix the bracket tomorrow.

We had a tasty chicken curry tonight made by our food suppliers Real Expedition. The lottery for the favourite meal is now underway.

That is it for now. All is good on the Pirate ship.

Paul Cayard
Pirates of the Caribbean