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Volvo Ocean Race- Of snapping tacklines and abundant dolphins + Videos

by Hamish Hooper on 25 Apr 2012
Camper sailed by Emirates Team NZ - Leg 6, Volvo Ocean Race Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©

Hamish Hooper blogs from on board Camper off the Brazilian coast, South America:

At the moment my first action of the day is to go up on deck, scan the horizon and play spot the other Volvo boats. It was a satisfying way to start the day seeing Abu Dhabi had shrunk over night and was now around 3 or 4 miles astern of us.

The other three boats, well they are along way away, having created a significant split in the fleet. A split, which will no doubt over the next few days reveal winners and losers of the first stage of this leg.



Despite the majority of the day being spent in painfully light breezes, it ended up being quite an eventful day starting with the biggest most playful pod of huge dolphins any of us had witnessed. Even Will, our onboard marine biologist was amazed by what he saw. He was quite correct in saying that there is something wrong with you if dolphins don’t bring a smile to your face.

Trae thought it was a better aerial display than the time he went to Sea World.

We can now cross off Sea World from our agenda in Miami and spend our admission fee on something else American… like super sizing every meal and firing guns.


Trae also suggested that it is regarded as good luck when escorted by dolphins at sea. He always says great stuff like that.

A little bit of good luck would come in handy at times for us on Camper.

But the thing is, I struggle with ‘luck’ onboard these boats and in this race because you never actually know how good or bad your luck is because there is always two ways of looking at situations.

For example yesterday evening with an almighty bang we broke a tack line when doing a sail change. It was the kind of explosive bang which booms from somewhere on the boat, everything goes silent for one long second until its figured out what’s broken, if everyone is OK and what the next move is.



Amazingly just as soon as the tack line broke the guys had the fractional zero sail plugged back in and we were back on course only losing a couple of minutes in the process.

When ropes break under close to 3 tonnes of load, they tend to move in different directions very fast and if someone is in the way it can be nasty.

So the question is- was it bad luck that the tack line broke in the first place, or was it good luck that no one was hurt and we didn’t lose much time at all.


You never know if it’s good or bad, but either way one thing is for sure on these boats- you never want to push your luck too much.

I guess we should thank the dolphins anyway and hope a little bit of that good luck continues over the next few days that will see us lead the fleet into the trade winds and around the eastern tip of Brazil.

Golden Quote: 'We were doing an inline peel and we 90% of the way through it, there was a big bang and its bad because when sails fly out with ropes attached to them people can get hurt, luckily everyone was ok and in time wise it probably cost us a minute or two so we are very fortunate.' Chris Nicholson

For more see www.etnzblog.com







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