Blogs from the boats - Volvo Ocean Race

PUMA Ocean Racing’s - il mostro Leg 1 of The Volvo Ocean Race.
Latest emails received from various boats racing to Capetown, South Africa, in Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.


I was just told that the TP 52 worlds are going on in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Not only did we just sail right past that island, but did so in the middle of a gybing duel with E4, with them about 2 boat lengths ahead of us at times. No matter how close the TP 52 event is, my guess is that there won't be any tighter racing than the racing E4 and ourselves are having right now.

As they zig zagged all over the lot trying to prevent us from passing on the high or low side, they were effective. We let them gybe first (I was watching them move their stack with very cool night vision bino's). We decided to set up about a mile to leeward, trying to sail our own angles and see if we can boat speed them and finally break through. For sure there isn't much in it. Very fun though. Doesn't make for much sleep, that is for sure.

So, as I am sitting here at the nav station trying to dial in a good downwind mode for the guys on deck using our polars and the radar (watching our angles and speed to E4), I figured I would write about the action. Honestly, I thought the racing would be close but this is ridiculous!

On board action is still intense here at the gear stacking world championships! Ricky Deppe (media boy) sits and films us or just watches as his 10 friends bust their humps moving gear all over the craft depending on the mode we are in, the angle of sail and the wind speed. Just seems bizarre to watch him watch us. Good news though is he is getting some great stuff on board and sending it off daily. Should be in your living room soon I would guess.

Besides that, it is business as usual. Lousy food, smelly guys, getting fire hosed on deck and sleeping inside a base drum with someone relentlessly beating on it 24 hours a day. Nowhere would we rather be right now.

Ken Read - skipper

TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 4 QFB: received 14.10.08 21:38 GMT

Some kind of a race routine has already settled in. There is a constant change of faces on deck. Every two hours two guys are coming up while two go down, eat and go into their bunk. The four guys on deck are sailing the boat, one helming, two trimming and one grinding. Wouter and I run our own watch, navigating and helping with maneuvers, whereas Wouter digs more into weather analysis and I do a share of driving.

We have the most pleasant sailing one can imagine. The breeze from the port or starboard quarter is in the high teens and the boat sailing like she’s on a track with smooth movements. Just the bow is throwing up some water and a constant cloud of spray around, occasionally digging in and sending water back to the cockpit. It is warm outside and the water is more joy than anything.

The only thing that doesn’t make us happy is that we don’t find a way to close up to the leaders. Delta Lloyd and Telefónica Blue found an easterly route that was closed for the boats earlier through Gibraltar and caught up on the whole fleet through a shorter distance sailed. We tried to position ourselves to get the fresh breeze first yesterday, which didn’t work out unfortunately. Now we are working on finding a way to work back every mile the pack is in front. As it looks at the moment there are not too many opportunities until we get to the Doldrums. The key is to stay in touch.

The last position report has shown Green Dragon in the lead, revealing what a great job Ian Walker and his team are doing. They are seriously challenging the three big teams, fantastic.
Crutches are the must-have on a sailboat. Mike has brought his due to the injury he has sustained two weeks ago. Nick found them and has cut them up to support our ram boot repair. At least are light weight aluminum, but carbon would have been even better.

Andreas Hanakamp - skipper

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 5 QFB: received 15.10.08 0843 GMT

A tough last 24 hours. As expected the leading boats made a big jump, but that said, Delta Lloyd made gains, so did a way better job than us.

We had a very good run last night when the breeze was up, but it seems in the 18 -20 knots range we are not so fast, we can't sail very deep.

Worse thing is that we broke our A2 running spinnaker this morning. It just gave up and tore right through the middle, it was all hands on deck to prevent it falling in the water, so it means a big job for Daryl (Wislang) and Jordi (Calafat) to put it back together.

Now sailing with a sail which is 150 square metres smaller, so we have to keep sailing the right angle for this sail otherwise we are cheating ourselves. It is vey tempting to sail the same angle as before, but than we will sail way slower, so we are in ‘boot’ mode, sailing as fast as possible, and trying to get every windshift right (the way we normally do). For the rest, all well onboard. Luckily everything is well sealed, so hardly any water downstairs, which keeps the living quarters ‘nice’ and ‘comfortable’.

Bouwe Bekking - skipper