Day 14 Boat Blogs from Leg 1 Volvo Ocean Race

Gabriele Olivo/Equipo Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race. Trimmer/Driver Pablo Arrate adjusting the leech line onboard Telefonica Blue during Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Day 14 Boat Blogs from Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 14 QFB: Received 24.10.08 1931GMT

I cannot help feeling every time a cloud parks itself over our boat 'why us?' The wind drops, starts shifting in funny directions and then sometimes dies altogether leaving you feeling nervous that you are losing miles to all your competitors. I am sure that everyone one in the race so far has had the fair share of clouds and squalls to deal with, but it still doesn't help at the time.

At the time you usually feel like you have been singled out by some sort of higher power who has decided you've gained quite enough miles on your competitors today already so they'll throw another little test in your path. This has pretty much been the case since the doldrums with something to test us every few hundred miles. However, in spite of these little upsets, we remain relatively up beat as we have managed to close in on the leaders just a little bit more today.

That said they are still a fair chunk ahead of us but we have vowed to be patient, conservative and now, being relatively happy with our speed, are willing to just try and reel them back in small chunks. So far, so good.

Despite the rivalry between our two Telefónica boats it gives us encouragement to see the boys on the black boat going so well. Right now they are doing a nice job of closing in on the lead, helping us to believe that we too will be up there soon... good work lads but I hope to see you soon!!!

With that I'd better run. the position report has just come in which will let us know how well the last three hours of our life has gone and hopefully will show us which direction the next three will take...

Cheers, for now,

Si Fi.

Simon Fisher - navigator

GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 14: received 24.10.08 1241GMT

Today feels a bit like the morning after a big night out - only without the hangover. In recent days we have had the excitement of passing through the doldrums, King Neptune’s visit and then claiming full points at the scoring gate. Now we are facing over 3000 miles direct line (more like 4200 miles actual sailing to re-cross the Atlantic to Cape Town.

Right now we are reaching in 18 knots of wind about 65 miles off the Brazilian coast. It is quite depressing to be sailing and getting no nearer the finish line but that’s how it is going to be for at least a thousand miles.

Personally I feel a bit tired right now and I am sure it is down to not eating or drinking enough. Today is day 13 and I hate the freeze dried food. The breakfast (Muesli) is OK so I have to get through a lunch and dinner if I can. I have perfected the art of getting the food (that’s what they call it) from my spoon to throat with minimal contact with my mouth lips or tongue - the teeth play a key role in getting it off the spoon. There is certainly no chewing required. I am using the film Papillon as my inspiration where the prisoner (Steve McQueen) has to eat cockroaches to survive.

On deck it is good fun with perfect jib top sailing conditions. It is clear that the boats behind are a little quicker than us in stability conditions but we are going to fight tooth and nail to hang on to this lead. Tactically it is a little boring right now which is no bad thing as Ian still has lots of electronics to fix. I'm going to get some sleep now as later we will be hoisting spinnakers again and the fun will really start.

Ian Walker - skipper
Rick Tomlinson: Green Dragon is first to pass through the scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race


ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 14 QFB: received 24.10.08 1226 GMT

Trade wind sailing southern hemisphere style. We are sailing almost upwind on port tack gaining some southing in anticipation for freer and stronger winds in our future.

Some subtle changes to living conditions are now occurring. With each passing day the temperature is slowly decreasing and with it we can use the bunk fans a bit less and even some extra items of clothing are now appearing.

I have had boots on again for the last few watches after a period of days running just bare feet on deck. Looking forward to the freeing breeze so we can get some decent sleep in, probably the hardest part about upwind and close reaching is the lack of rest while in the bunk. Back to the bunk again now after a quick spag bol to try and catch up on much needed rest.

Stu Bannatyne – watch captain

TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 14 QFB: received 24.10.08 1530 GMT

Wow, the number of messages that we are receiving via my own and the Team Russia website is unreal! We are getting tonnes of them forwarded and they really are a morale boost. Thank you all so very much. It is great.

From these messages it is clear that we are not the only ones on a watch schedule! To hear people are getting up in the middle of the night to check on the latest position updates is as crazy as it is fantastic.

Well good news for all die-hard race followers, the South Atlantic is warming up to be a spectacle. I can guarantee you right now all the navigators are homing in on a low pressure system developing off the coast of Rio in three days. This low has the potential to give us a great ride towards Cape Town, but careful positioning will be crucial. Too far east, and you run the risk of getting caught in the High with the light winds. Too far west and you might fall off the train early.

Already in the next 24 hours this choice has to be made, as switching lanes later can be expensive. We are leaning currently to a westerly route as this will get us to the low quicker, we can pick up some of the south-going current along the Brazilian coast, and we stay clear of the lighter winds in the east. What do you think?

With big calls like this having to be made all the time, we call the nav station the ‘hot’ seat. Jokingly we also compare it to being on a game show like weekend millionaires. OK, next round, 120 miles at stake, here is the question: to which longitude are you willing to invest west to get quicker south?

With this similarity in mind we are suggesting the introduction of more features of such game shows, like call a friend or let the audience vote.

Would be great to have a little chat with our shore-based strategist Jean Yves Bernot whose road book most of the teams carry with them on the legs. The road book gives a guideline to the most frequent strategic choices along the route and gives a very good big picture understanding. Jean Yves we are playing for 120 NM, how far west would you advise to go?

An online vote system would be even better. Race followers can make their own analysis all night, place their vote and get in trouble with their boss at work after yet another night without sleep! Fantastic!

Like the stealth cards you can of course play them only once....Knut (CEO Volvo Ocean Race) what do you think?

Having sailed with Knut I think I know his answer: 'Wouter, you have been working to get in the hot seat since you were 13, now do what you do best!' OK point taken, back to the weather charts. 120 NM at stake, nice, I have such a cool job!

Cheers, Wouter

Wouter Verbraak - navigator

ERICSSON 3 LEG ONE DAY 14 QFB: received 24.10.08 1730 GMT

This is a hard time for us. We are fighting in the bottom end of the league and it doesn't feel like our hard work is paying off.

Magnus Olsson says that it's a known dilemma among ocean-race veterans. After 1.5 to 2 weeks of sailing and you're not doing too well, it doesn't take much for the guys to get grumpy. At least not now when it's starting to get a bit rough, the boats are going fast and rocking in every wave. To make food or even to visit the toilet takes quite an effort.

Our situation didn't improve when we had to stop to pick up a new satellite station at the island Fernando, that