Volvo Ocean Race - Morale high onboard Puma's Mar Mostro
by Amory Ross on 27 Feb 2012
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 8 of the second stage of Leg 4. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Brad Jackson (R) and Jono Swain (L) on deck as Mar Mostro passes Haha Jima, a small island of Japan. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.puma.com/sailing
Life has gotten a little giddy! I made reference yesterday to improved morale and a brighter mood, but I assumed it was merely a byproduct of our returned presence to the front of the fleet. Today it has grown out of hand. More laughs than I can remember in a very long time, and it has come at the cost of sleep, and possibly even performance. We are spending far too much time clowning around near the companionway – mostly at each other’s expense. Why, I asked? Why is everyone so funny in such dreadful living conditions? Then, I saw it.
At 5:30 this morning, just after sun-up, we passed to windward of one final Japanese island. And its name? Haha Jima. Of course. Obviously the sirens of humor on Haha drew us in with a heavy dose of glee. But how far? Could our 'Sushi Tour' through Japan have been their doing? Sadly, we will never know. The boys on deck refused to stop – something about winning a yacht race – and we are well on our way towards New Zealand.
Laughs aside, eight days into this leg we are finally going south. The [very] gradual turn down has begun and Puma’s Mar Mostro is averaging south-of-east every watch, even if only by a few degrees. That trend will continue and in time, intensify. And if the weather models agree, we’ll all face a continuous header, pinwheeling the fleet around the inside boats further to the south, like Olympic runners arching through their first turn. Being on the outside means we’ll sail a longer track, but we’re positioned where the winds are supposed to be strongest, hopefully slingshotting us towards Auckland near the leader(s), maybe HaHa’ing all the way?