Boat Blogs from Day 16 of Volvo Ocean Race

Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race. Driver/Trimmer Phil Harmer and Bowman Andrew McLean onboard Green Dragon, fighting for the lead during Leg 1.

Boat Blogs from Day 16 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 1 to Cape Town.

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 26 QFB: received 26.10.08 0655 GMT

‘All is well tonight here on Telefónica Blue. Nice downwind sailing...I hope you are having a nice evening in RHQ.' This were the words from Sifi (Simon Fisher), our navigator, to let the race headquarters know we are all-right.

We have to report this once a day, but at least the duty officer back in England has something to do as well. As far as I know all the duty officers are girls and they are amazingly friendly, helpful and very often remind us of things. Wouldn't be my cup of tea, but thanks girls for what you are doing for us!!

Not a lot is happening, we changed several times sails, but the repaired spinnaker is not performing at all, so we decided to keep it in the bag. In the America's Cup you are allowed to do a so-called chase boat drop. This means you let go all the ropes and the spinnaker falls in the water and get picked up by your chase boat. If we had a chase boat here, the spinnaker would have been long gone, as it is 'lemon' and not of a lot of use for us.

Some Brazilian will find sooner or later one shoe, as one has fallen in the tide. Iker (Martinez) was missing his shoe for several days, but last night it appeared when we hoisted the repaired spinnaker,............it was packed inside the spinnaker, so when the sock opened the shoe appeared, it made one bounce on the deck, and decided to jump ship. Talking of shoes, Jono (Jonathan Swain) is getting a bit twitchy to know how far south the route will take us into Cape Town, as he only has brought shoes. If we go very far south the water will be freezing, so cross fingers it doesn't get too bad for him.

Cheers,

Bouwe Bekking - skipper
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PUMA LEG ONE DAY 26 QFB: Received 26.10.08 0322 GMT

Every once and a while you have extraordinary days. They can be good or bad. So from time to time when a particular day stands out I will document it for you all. Kind of shows how basic our lives really are out here. Nothing to do with the racing, just life as we know it on ‘The Monster’. Here goes:

1- Woke up and actually brushed my teeth and washed my face. Amazing
experience.

2- Just before sunrise I had a live radio interview with a ‘shock jock’ in
Cape Town and the guy asked why we were all sailing down the South American coast and if we actually knew where Cape Town was? He had a great point, and I didn't even try to answer it. He promised me a cold beer when we arrived.

3- I went to the bathroom without having to grip on to the walls and hope that I didn't get tossed off the toilet while flying off of a wave.

4- Went on deck for extended periods without a dry top on. Rubber neck and wrist seals become a little clammy in this heat. Very refreshing.

5- Changed my underwear. Need I say more?

6- Shaved. Unreal experience especially in the heat.

7- Today was my day for clean up duty. Scrubbed the head, galley, leeward side of the boat and bailed every drop out of each section. Felt really good about the job I did. Hopefully my wife isn't reading this as her immediate thought will be ‘why doesn't the dumb ass do that at home?’.

8- Had a Kit Kat bar to celebrate my ‘Great Day’. Can't begin to describe how good it tasted.

Kenny Read - skipper

Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race. Stacking on il mostro as the fleet chases South during Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

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GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 16: received 26.10.08 0955 GMT

Anybody who knows me well will tell you that I am not a great one for sitting around drinking tea, nor does making tea figure too highly up my agenda. Having said that, I do like a nice cup of tea every now and then. There aren't many luxuries on a Volvo 70 so a nice cup of tea goes down well onboard if you are prepared to do battle with the galley to make one.

Twice now I have done this, only to make the tea, go back on deck, sit down and find out that the tea bags are some kind of green or herbal tea - plus powdered milk of course. Tom kindly made the tea going off watch last night and I was treated to green tea with cranberry juice plus milk!

I can't tell you the disappointment this brings. Kim (who by the way does a fantastic job sorting out all our food and clothing etc) if you are listening, herbal tea bags may be OK for girls and hippies, but have no place on this boat. I've just been through and thrown every dodgy tea bag overboard to prevent this happening again.

Back to the race and not much has happened really. Ericsson 4 and Puma continue to sail faster than us and we have held off Telefónica Black. All our efforts are going into the onslaught that lies ahead. The router suggests we will do the final 3400 miles in 7 days which is nearly 500 miles per day. Considering we are in light winds all day today that can only mean some big days ahead. Reliability will be key. Tom Braidwood has discovered some sheared bolts in the steering system which could have caused trouble and he is now servicing the generator. In 24 hours time it will be hard to do anything onboard. I have prepared my dry suit, boots and safety kit and caught up on a lot of sleep.

For everyone at home this race is about to get interesting as all the boats behind get the wind further north and cut the corner on the leaders. The boats should aline north south and it will look like a fairly equal dash for Cape Town. Those that do not keep up with the pace of the front will drop off the back of the system and lose hundreds of miles. It’s our job to make sure that doesn't happen to us. Don't expect too much typing from me over the next week.

Ian Walker - skipper
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TELEFÓNICA BLACK LEG ONE DAY 16 QFB: received 26.10.08 1237 GMT

We have been preparing for war since early morning. Everything has been organised and fixed up for the coming hours in which we expect to have some more than 40 knots, according to the weather forecast. The good news is that we will at last catch up with winds which will take us closer to the finishing line, and be able to fight for the leading place. We are at a certain distance behind, with a drop of wind and big shifts, but still there.

More good news is that we have cleared up a lot of stuff in here, so there is more room available for anything.

Life on board goes as usual, except for some funny repairs our 'Master of the Laminates: Laminator David (David Vera/ESP)', has done. You may ask him by mail what happened. I cannot write about that here!! Ha ha!!

And in between laminating and laminating, sail changes and, one of the worst things on board: stacking. Imagine moving and piling up hundreds of kilos in this reduced space every time the wind drops or increases in one or two knots! No problem, ‘stacking again!’ is the shout and everyone goes to it.

Oh, I almost forgot! We have only two spoons left! So imagine next step. Making spoons out of plastic! Or laminated carbon!! Laminator again!

Let's see what happens. More tomorrow.

Mikel Pasabant - MCM

Mikel Pasabant/Equipo Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race. Grinding in punishing conditions onboard Telefonica Black as the fleet races South during Leg 1.

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ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 16 QFB: received 1130GMT

Last 2 days has been really good for us. We had good conditions of downwind sailing with winds from 12-18 knots. During the night the sky has been beautiful, full of stars and all crew are really enjoying it.

We are leading the fleet at the moment with Puma really close to us and it’s been difficult to know how many days there were when we both didn't see each other after more then 2 weeks of racing!

Sailing along the Brazilian coast has been great and makes me feel a bit at home, be back in 6 month Brazil!!. We are starting our head to the east and it looks like the next few days will be really intense with some strong winds. That will help us to run some miles and be closest to the finish line. Looks like the battle for the l
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