Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - Tough

Volvo Ocean Race- Puma makes Cape Town after a 31 day first leg

by Ken Read on 7 Dec 2011
Skipper Ken Read leads the crew of Puma’s "Mar Mostro" against the crew of the Team Bremen in a game of basketball while bound for Cape Town and the start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.puma.com/sailing

Puma's Mar Mostro is only a few miles out of Cape Town, aboard the container ship Team Bremen. Skipper Ken Read provides this 'Update from the Helm' as he reflects on what has gone by, and what lies ahead for the US flagged Volvo Ocean Racer:

6 December 2011


Day 31. Can you imagine? A 31-day, leg No. 1. We did it all by sea. No planes, trains or automobiles. Still on track to go around the world via water. Can't say 'sailed' around the world or 'went around the world on our own bottom' anymore. But we have certainly done this entire 31-day odyssey all by water.

The troops are restless. Today is the first day that the entire group on board is a bit grouchy. We have all had our moments but for sure the end is near and we can smell Cape Town. Less than 150 miles left as I write with an ETA of about 11 pm local time tonight at the shipping port in Cape Town. The job list on the boat is for the most part complete, at least complete with the tools and material that we have available out here. The natives are restless. This ship and its constant 20-degree role and vibration, and the diesel noise and oily smell has pretty much run its course. Time to go now. Don't get me wrong, the Team Bremen has been a godsend along with its entire crew. But, it is time to get off.

For a while I didn't think this adventure would ever end. Right now, it looks like it will. And, in the nick of time. If all goes well, we should make the In-Port Race on Saturday and the Leg 2 start Sunday. Just shy of a miracle, seeing we were well over 2,000 miles away from Cape Town with no mast, little diesel and limited food about 17 days ago. Thanks to the drive and energy and creative thinking of a huge amount of people, we look to be in reasonable shape to get back into this race. That is all we could have ever asked for.


Without families that understood our predicament, a shore team that can handle nearly anything, sponsors who were committed and friends who cared, getting back into the race by Leg 2 would have never happened. Our sailing team has fed off of the sailing world’s reaction to our adventure. It has been the reason to get up in the morning and go to work in different settings daily. It has helped create a drive toward making our boat competitive again. Reminders that there is a race to compete in but at the same time, to sit back and take in this bizarre set of circumstances which has been our 'adventure' on Leg 1.

One of the things that I said repeatedly during press dealings pre start in Alicante was that I would sit back and take in this adventure more than I did last time. To look around, enjoy the beauty, absorb the opportunity while sailing around the world. I was amazed during my last trip around the planet that it took me nearly 3/4 the way around the track to really start taking notice of what we were actually doing. Very few people get to say they sailed around the world. This time I decided early on to take it all in. BUT, dear lord, I never in a million years thought that this sort of adventure was what I would be referring to.


Connecting to the sea and its surroundings is something mariners have done for centuries. But, I think we may have taken it a step or two too far, don't you think? This is a race after all. Sure it is a human adventure but with a common theme which is to compete. Our competition in its practical definition ended 17 days ago, and our new definition began – to get the crew and the boat back to civilization in one piece in order to rejoin our fellow VOR teams in a race.

One thing that I am very proud of is the fact that this sailing team has stuck together like I had only hoped it would. Everyone still is enjoying each other’s company, everyone is still pulling their weight, all are ready to go racing again. Our fear, of course, is that we have only put ourselves in position to get onto the race course again in a similar set up to where we were when the mast came crashing down. Or maybe even a little behind that point, barring any problems with fitting our spare mast. Will that be enough to be competitive in Leg 2? Can we move ahead as a team and get faster just by talking about it and not actually going out and practicing? How quickly will we reacquaint ourselves with our sailing positions and roles on the boat? These are all valid questions that only time will tell. I guess the last part of our adventure.


Typically we have a couple weeks to rest and relax and give my fingers a chance to rest from these blogs. That is surely good for all of us, so you don't get sick of Amory and me wandering off on a tangent about daily life onboard a VO 70. This time you won't be so lucky. In five days you will likely hear from us again but hopefully this time talking about other boats and tactical situations that have taken place that have either worked for or against us.

Man, I certainly hope that is what we are talking about.

So, bye for now. And again, thanks to all for bringing this crazy 31 days to a close. We couldn't have done it without you.

-- Kenny

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Volvo Ocean Race- Official Video of latest edtion
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during July The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during early July 2012. This documentary tracks the fleet during their amazing around the world journey. Catch all the drama and action as the teams sail a 39,000 nautical miles through the world's most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, M
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- All-Women crew announced for the 2014-15 edition
The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest co The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest company SCA announced they would enter a women’s crew for the next edition in 2014-15. 'The lack of women in the last few editions of the race has meant we haven't been representing half the population of the human race' - Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race, CEO
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- And when the race is over.... + Video
Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. She will visit the Copa del Rey in Palma de Mallorca. Sponsored by the Mallorcan footwear company Camper, the return of the joint Spanish and New Zealand flagged boat, marks the end of a round the world adventure that started with the yacht’s baptism at the RCNP in September 2011 and the race start from A
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Calling up the Reinforcements
They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, who were given the chance to prove they could step up to challenges as big as the Southern Ocean, often with barely any notice. Be it an email with a subject line 'get your boots ready' or a hurried face-to-face with the skipper just minutes before the st
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
The most successful Volvo Ocean Race yet
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most success The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most successful, CEO Knut Frostad said on Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of fans visiting Galway in Ireland for a buoyant finale and outstanding growth across media platforms set to be confirmed once final data is in.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Sanderson wants to go again
Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in la Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in late 2014 when he expects to return for another campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race. Sanderson skippered ABN AMRO ONE to victory in 2005-06 and while his race this time with Sanya was not the same glittering success he is determined it will not be his final appearance in the Volvo
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Reluctant hero Marsh takes seamanship honour
'It's been an amazing adventure, a fantastic tour, and a great race' - Brad Marsh The title ‘hero’ does not rest easy on the shoulders of Groupama bowman Brad Marsh, but most agree that it is the best way to describe the Kiwi who repaired a sinking yacht, saved a broken rig and scaled a 31-metre mast in a storm front.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race - Perfection never enough for Franck Cammas
Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history thanks to Groupama's debut victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Here we profile the charismatic French sailor for whom perfection is never good enough.
Posted on 10 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Selected Awards announced at Formal Prizegiving
Camper's Hamish Hooper saw nine months of hard work pay off as he was crowned Media Crew Member of the Volvo Ocean Race The selected award category winners were announced at the final formal Volvo Ocean Race prizegiving in Galway Ireland. We present a gallery of images and video of the category winners and their feats including the Media Crew member Award, the Rookie Award, the Seamanship Award, the Shore Crew Award as well as the Designer Award and Speed Trophy presentation.
Posted on 9 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Formal Prizegiving - Racing Award winners
The racing award winners and crews were announced at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland The racing award winners were recognised at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland after the conclusion of the InPort race on Saturday. All six crews were presented with overall awards or place momentos. The InPort Trophy was awarded as well, the speed record trophy was also awarded.
Posted on 8 Jul 2012