Boat Blogs from Day 21 Leg 1 Volvo Ocean Race

Mikel Pasabant/Equipo Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race. Telefonica Black. Having already shredded four sails, Fernando Echavarri?s boat loses a rudder, wipes off the bowsprit and breaks one of its daggerboards.

Boat Blogs from Day 21, Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cape Town. Its been a tough 24 hours, with many breakages to both equipment and crew.

TELEFÓNICA BLACK LEG ONE DAY 21: received 31.10.08 0826 GMT

Hi everybody

As you can see, we are back in business! Our emergency rudder works well so we could spend the night nearly racing, at a nice speed considering the circumstances.

Anyway, we are in high spirits, we all know that this is a very long run and we have just started! We were in the leading pack a few days ago.

We have had a couple of albatrosses flying around the boat for several hours now, and it is said they are considered a good omen, so let's hope so! What is true is the magnificence of these birds flying! Amazing!

Apart from birds, we keep on having squids jumping on board, and a very strange fish which appeared yesterday afternoon on deck. We put it back into the water again, as it was still alive, and I took a shot of it in case someone could have a look at it to recognise it. Maybe a normal flying fish, I do not know, but it was cool.

Looking forward to arriving into Cape Town as soon as possible so that we can be ready for the next leg in the best of conditions.

Regards and tomorrow more.

Mikel Pasabant - MCM


ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 21 QFB: received 31.10.08 0917 GMT

Just sitting in the nav station, and I see that we've only got 695 miles until the finish in Cape Town. For some guys, 695 would be the longest race they do and here we all are, treating it like we're almost there!!

It has been an incredibly wet 4-5 days. The boys are getting sick of being washed into winches, pedestals and each other. I'm sure there will be a few bumps and bruises coming out over the next few days.

After the record dash, we did another 540+ day giving us almost 1200 miles in 48 hours! I cannot describe what it was like on deck over that period. Wet, wet, wet are the only words I guess. The guys were extremely careful with harnesses and just taking their time doing everything properly. The last thing we need is a broken ankle or fractured eye socket! It would be just as easy to hurt yourself below deck as it would be above.

One thing that has gone very well, is the interior of the yacht. We never missed a meal and the guys have been good at cleaning their stuff up. We do have a 'clothing crimes' bag onboard, so anything that gets left lying around will always show up in the bag. Hopefully the shore crew won't be sick to their stomachs when they step onboard!!

We currently have Puma about 60 miles astern and she has now gone into stealth mode. Pretty tense times for us, but there's nothing we can do about it except sail our boat as best we can. Who knows, maybe we'll pull ours out soon......

The water temperature is much cooler now. The complaints about the heat are now long gone and we're just starting to get the first signs of complaining about the cold. No one has any dry clothes left, so it's quite unpleasant getting into wet clothing!!

No real majors to report. Dave (Endean) had his 30th birthday yesterday and thought he might get the day off and be allowed to spend it in bed. Unfortunately we needed him, so instead of a nice sleep in, he got me, dripping water all over him, waking him up for watch at 6am. It's a tough life
We still will have a big job list for the shore crew and they only have about 12 days to do it so our mission is to get her there in the best condition we can, without compromising boatspeed.

That's all for now. Better try and get a bit of sleep.

Phil 'Blood' Jameson - bowman

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 21 QFB: received 31.10.08 0005 GMT

Hi there,

We are slowly getting to the south - we are now down to 35 degrees now, but already it is getting cold. The inside of the boat is now covered in a layer of condensation which means everything that you touch is wet. Gloves and hats are now the order of the day upstairs and even in the nav station the shorts and t-shirt have been swapped for thermals and a jacket. Our route is due to take us more south yet - down to the roaring 40's briefly before we gybe and head back up towards Cape Town, so we'll have to put up with it getting a little colder still.

The last few days have been tough ones; the boat has been a handful and we have been forced to throttle back. For a navigator this is pretty tough, your life is made much easier when you are going fast. That said though, it is important we keep the boat together and get to Cape Town in one piece, so over the past few days I have had to learn to bite my tongue a bit and try and find new and creative ways of seeing the positive side in losing miles when the scheds come in. That said I am starting to get a little nervous now, the Russians are bearing down on us and closing the miles so I am very much hoping that the weather and the sea state starts to ease off as forecast so we can get the pedal to the floor again. Once again I'll just have to try and be patient!!


Si Fi

Simon Fisher - navigator

Gabriele Olivo/Equipo Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race. Telefonica Blue in rough seas on the final stretch of leg 1 to Cape Town, in the Volvo Ocean Race

PUMA LEG ONE DAY 20 QFB: Received 30.10.08 1743GMT

Well, first off it is windy and water is pummelling anyone on deck. Average speeds in the 23 knot range means high speeds in the upper 30's which we have had. Will have to go back to the log to see if we have had any 40's to date but I can tell you that things are moving along at a pretty good clip.

Many things have been interesting over the last few days. We have sailed ‘il Mostro’ in some pretty breezy conditions pre-race but none at this frenetic pace. To be sure this is an inherent problem of a one boat programme. Protecting the assets. I always felt reluctant to press the boat 100 percent in the pre-race practice because if something were to happen really badly to this boat, essentially the race was over before it even started. Not a very good scenario. Plus there is the racing vs practicing mentality. You can ‘think’ you are pushing a boat hard when you practice but, the fact of the matter it is that with a competitor next to you on in the same water you push much, much harder than practice. It is a fact of life.

This all leads back to where our programme is at and something I have said earlier in this leg. We are learning. How hard is hard enough to push? How hard is too hard? Fact is the guys on E4 have schooled us all in this condition and my guess is they knew where there boundaries were, better than we did.

We are finding them slowly, and a lot of it is getting used to the crashes and smashes that happen all around you 24 hours a day inside this base drum called a carbon fibre boat. It's funny, as this leg has gone on, the sleeping or even the concentrating was often interrupted by being acutely aware of new noises, loud bangs, creaks and groans. Not to mention the occasional silence, followed by the tremendous CRASH of a hull falling into a wave trough out of thin air. The first thought- ‘Are we pushing too hard and maybe risking the boat?’ Turns ou, probably not hard enough.

The human psyche is a strange lot. As I said, three days ago, concentrating was tough as we sunk into this low pressure system and knew it was going to be a reasonably long and fast and furious ride. No lie there. But now things are different. Three days ago what I cringed about is now what I crave. I find that I can't sleep now if the boat ISN'T smashing off waves or humming only as this boat hums when the boat speed goes past 30, because all those noises aren't noises of possible problems any more. They are the noises of FAST. And to win this race will mean we have to get faster.

The Monster will find a way.

Ken Read - skipper

Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race Skipper Ken Read helming PUMA Ocean Racing in rough seas heading towards Cape Town, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race