Boat Blogs from Day 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Photo: Mark Covell/Team Russia/Volvo Ocean Race. Nick Bubb grinding onboard Team Russia’s Kosatka on Leg 1.

Boat Blogs from Day 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 1 to Cape Town South Africa.

PUMA LEG ONE DAY 7 QFB: received 17.10.08 0320 GMT

OK. I am pretty ticked off right now because I had this entire thing written and we leapt off a wave and one of my fingers hit a key it wasn't supposed to and it is all gone now. So here goes with round #2. Ugggh.

First the weather. Minefields everywhere and there is nothing ‘traditional’ about this leg so far at all. All the historical routing data? Throw it in the bin. ‘You will never sail inside the Canary's’.. Been there. ‘You will never have to deal with the Cape Verde Islands’. About to be there.

This entire leg has been about testing the west while keeping the pressure that is in the east, keeping the entire fleet far further east than ‘traditional’. Making it a bit tougher on Capey (Andrew Cape – navigator), but fortunately for us to date things have gone quite well for Capey. He and I are building pretty decent communication combining weather and strategy which at least appears to be working. His ‘experience’ (age) is showing to date.

But there are huge issues to contend with prior to hitting the Doldrums, and we are managing expectations on board. I have the speech down pat. ‘Boys, you know that little lead that we have worked so hard for over the past week? Well it is about to evaporate in about 10 minutes when we hit the no wind wall of the doldrums’. And as many times as the experienced crew on this boat have dealt with the Doldrums and heard that speech, it doesn't mean they like to hear it.

On board it is funny how tendencies begin to take shape. Salty (Rob Salthouse) and Sid (Sidney Gavignet) are threatening to strike due to unfair labour practice by management. They claim that we gybe about 20 minutes after their watch falls asleep - every time! They have a point, but if they think management is going to change their ways, they are dreaming! Figuratively, not literally.

I'm going to cut my losses now and wrap this up before it gets lost again. Writing while on the graveyard shift has become a bit of a habit. Not sure how long it will last though.

Ken Read - skipper

TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 7 QFB (2): received 17.01.08 1050 GMT

One week in the race so far and it is fantastic, I can highly recommend it to everyone who loves sailing. Delta Lloyd is competitive with a first generation boat. With the next race already announced, go out, get one and play in the next race. It is really close racing out here, I promise, every three hours you see how you are doing, and that will be going on for month.

Had a little disaster last night when the massive bean bag we use for sleeping exploded right in the navstation. Snow everywhere, almost a snowstorm. Little snowballs of polystyrene that adhere to everything, You find them between your toes, on legs, arms. I use little ziplock bags to collect them, hope Benno (Ben Costello) will fix it later.

The boat is holding together great and (almost) everything is fully operational (touch wood). The water maker produces water, winches all working, keel canting, halyard locks holding, quadrants still firm, instruments showing some values, etc.. Thank you all to our shore crew for your patience over the last months and putting in the incredible effort of getting the boat back together. Looking forward to seeing you all in Cape Town.

We are happy how we are doing. Still in close contact with the fleet, there were no real passing lanes so far, except for Delta. They played the Capes of Africa perfectly and gained with every move, well done. Puma and both Ericsson's are just very solid, glad they can't extend their lead at the moment. One hundred miles means just 5 hours, that's acceptable. Wonder why Green Dragon lost miles over the last two scheds, they had the most breeze in the fleet. We don't get any more information here other than positions and wind data at the time of the report.


Andreas Hanakamp - skipper

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 7 QFB: received 17.10.08 0720 GMT

Everybody had a pretty tough day, since two sometimes three of our guys were repairing the spinnaker, as it was in thousand pieces. This mend we had to do standby watches to cover the sail makers. Of course they were not happy, Jordi's face showed it clearly, but they ripped immediately back into it.

So yesterday I was on deck from 0600 to 1900, than down for one hour and then again up for my normal watch. But a similar story for all others. The last watch we drunk plenty of coffee, to help keep the eyes open. Luckily the breeze has picked up, so not suffering too much with the small spinnaker.

The waves are very short and not pleasant, lots of water over the deck, way more water than on the movistar [in the last race], but we are in control. One thing I have to mention is, it is good to see how well Delta Lloyd is going, not only they have been sailing very smart, but they are not slow either. That will open doors for the next race, and hopefully more teams will use older generation boats, and still be competitive.

Bouwe Bekking - skipper

ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 7 QFB: received 17.10.08 1245 GMT

Approaching the one week mark of the leg and the familiar effects of being offshore are starting to show. The smells, the rashes, the repetitive menu from the galley. All these just add a little more difficulty to the day to day life on board. Although the weather has been kind and given us some 'champagne sailing', it has meant we have had to work extra hard to gybe and re-stack the boat and try and stay in phase with any shifts we see. In these tropical conditions, that only means you get drenched in sweat working below, and then have to sit in sweaty boots and gear when on deck. Hardly ideal.

The limited number of meals has started to repeat itself, and so many of us will miss out the ones we did not enjoy the first time round. This means the snacks will get hit harder as we go on, or we will start to get more and more hungry. The smell of cooking down below and the temperature increase when the engine is running to charge batteries, gives the boat quite a special odour. It reminds me of a dog after a flea bath, so hopefully fleas won't be a problem on board.

All this leaves us looking forward to the Doldrums with a possibility of some rain for a cheeky wash, and also a little cooler temperatures after we get across the equator. That's it from me, I need to stop sweating all over Jules' keyboard.

Dave Endean - pitman

GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 7 QFB: received 17.10.08 1309 GMT

I feel a bit odd today - maybe it’s because I have just had 4 hours sleep - my longest stint of the trip so far and the first time I have slept through 2 position reports.

The reports haven't made great reading recently so I am glad to have missed them. Its tricky out here - I have no idea how it can be so shifty so far out to sea. We are focusing on lining up for the Doldrums right now and there is a 'tropical wave' ahead of us (please note that onboard whenever anybody says 'tropical wave' everyone else does a Mexican wave! - is this the first sign of madness onboard I wonder?). This will mean a fast transition for some and could spell trouble for others.

Right now it looks like the further ahead you are the better shape you will be in - we need to keep pushing hard. Anyway spirits remain high and were boosted when Damian got hit in the face by a flying fish in the night. I am not sure what was funnier the direct hit or Damian trying to get it out of the cockpit.

I am going to start spending more time on deck as I spend so much time watching the computer and studying weather info that I feel