Boat Blogs from Day 16, Leg 1 to Cape Town, Volvo Ocean Race. TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 16 QFB; received 26.10.08 1748 GMT
Today it was getting quite busy on the water. While we haven’t seen ships for a while we saw several today, racing with us south.
The morning was full of boat preparation to get ready for the fast and wet sailing ahead. As we still get water into the boat, Guillermo was allowed some Sikaflex and he stuffed it on top of areas that might leak. If you look at his sailing gear, it must have been leaking heavily. Nick (Bubb) sealed the companionway, Jeremy (Elliot), Ben (Costello) and Cam (Cameron Wills) bricked some sails we will not use over the next few days for ease of handling and Nick and I had check on our hand-sewn custom ram boots which are working fine.
We can’t wait to hook into the low developing at 35S and which should give us some boost tomorrow allowing us to point the bow towards Cape Town.
In interviews via the Inmarsat phone we are regularly being asked, whether we miss any of the amenities of dry land. I can only say, that on board Kosatka I haven't heard any conversation about restaurants, fresh clothes, proper food, cinemas, etc.. I think we all look forward to getting to Cape Town, but not because we miss the comfort. We look forward meeting families and friends and visiting South Africa.
Andreas Hanakamp - skipper
--------------------------- ERICSSON 3 LEG ONE DAY 17 QFB: Received 27.10.08 1217 GMT
Just got my PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) and inflatable lifejacket out and ready under the nav desk. Till now I have been wearing the light harness which provides for easier grinding and more mobility. But now we are preparing for conditions we really respect. Most of us onboard are going to get the first real ride on a solid low pressure system, for the most of the Atlantic crossing.
Last night I did a walk through of the next week's weather with our watch captains Magnus Olsson and Richard Mason, with a little sketch I had made of our route and the expected winds along it. ‘That is not possible with these boats!’ was Magnus' resolute reply. So we talked through the options if we find the conditions too rough for us and the boat - we really want to get to Cape Town in one piece, this race is just starting.
I am running a few different softwares for the routing. One has us doing a 24 hr record in two days, another one in four days. The computers do not see the limitations though; we will see what we get.
Even though it is with respect, we are really looking forward to this, as it is what separates the Volvo Ocean Race from other yacht races. How fast we sail the boats in these conditions. Till now I have been joking with Martin Krite about how it is going to be on the bow in 10 metre waves, 40 knot breeze trying to recover a headsail, but no more joking now. We will just do it our way and see how good that is. I am sure some of the more experienced teams will push hard, but we will set our own pace. But we will give it our best; we can rest in Cape Town.
Aksel Magdahl - navigator
------------------------- ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 17 QFB: received 27.10.08 1248 GMT
The fleet is compressing in this race once more as we start to make the turn east to Cape Town. We have been having some interesting skirmishes with Puma throughout this race and again we find ourselves within 4 miles of each other with them in the ascendancy. The pursuers, which range from Green Dragon in the south, to Telefónica Blue to the North, all have better wind than us right now - the Irish have probably got themselves into the best position leverage-wise for a move to the front of the pack...we shall see.
Problem for us is how to minimise the losses against these guys as the wind field evens out then increases for all...and then on the smaller scale keeping the Puma at bay. Oh to be in 3 places at once. Never mind, we are still leading though being down to 10 men (soccer pundits insert your cod 11 versus 10 team psychology here....).
We seem to hang in there with Puma but only just, are we faster? Our perception on board is not as the shoe boat keeps gaining then a light spot or angle change seems to give us another lucky jump and the process begins again...it will be interesting to hear the Puma guys thoughts on this.
The latest weather models route us through some big wind areas so we will have to take a view on that, always better to get there with some points than not at all. This class of boat still does not fully convince me of its robustness in winds greater than 35 knots. Some exciting sailing ahead for those who like sailing then, for the others like me who don’t, it will be a period of constant worrying below decks with the odd stroll on deck to prove man’s efforts at making oilskins that work have not moved on much since wool dipped in tar and oil was donned by whalers down here 200 years ago...or maybe it is just that people were tougher back then.
Jules Salter - navigator
------------------------- GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 17 QFB: received 27.10.08 1505 GMT
It feels great to finally be pointing somewhere near Cape Town. I've nothing against South America but the party is going to be in South Africa and it’s now time to get over there.
We have worked for days to position ourselves furthest south in the hope of more wind as we head east, and it seems to slowly be paying. In fact our biggest problem is probably going to be too much wind in the south, so we may have to keep our plan in check. For the next day or so this won't be a problem so we will wait and see how it develops.
It’s taking me a while to get my head around all the weather systems being upside down and round the wrong way in the southern hemisphere but I think I am getting there. One thing is for sure the pressure on the barometer is dropping and the average speeds are going up.
It’s amazing how adept you get at guessing the hull speed from in the nav station. Under 10 knots boat speed all is quiet and you think you aren't moving at all - you can't hear above Justin's (Slattery) snoring. Up to 15 knots, the water starts to rush quite fast outside the hull and you can hear the wind in the rigging, 15 to 20 knots boat speed and the hull starts to shudder and you get the odd surf and lurching motion for and aft.
Over 20 knots and the hull starts to slam even downwind - this is often followed by a stopping feeling as you plough into the wave in front. At about 25 knots the crunchometer kicks in. This is when you come off the back of waves and the flat bottom section of the hull lands with a bang, the whole centre of the boat bounces up and down (inc Guo in the media station) and you hear a loud crunch. The crunch is the vertical carbon fibre panels of the head disintegrating in compression and this only lasts about a day. After then the whole sidewalls of the head are destroyed leaving nothing to crunch and all goes quiet. A few hours ago the crunching started but the wind has now abated and the head will get a temporary stay of execution.
Ian Walker - skipper
Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
Neal McDonald at the helm as Green Dragon are joined by a Brazilian naval vessel with a TV cameraman and stills pohotographer onboard to shoot them passing first through the scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha - Volvo Ocean Race©?nid=50235 Click Here to view large photo
--------------------------- TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 16 QFB: received 26.10.08 1855 GMT
This afternoon has been a bit of a nail biter - nothing much happening, nice tropical sailing conditions, downwind with the sun shining but I cannot help feeling slightly nervous.
We are set up a little to the east of our guys ahead and whilst we have steadily gaining miles on them over the course of the day, it makes me feel slightly uneasy being closer to the high pressure system than them. It is a case of constantly checking and checking again that you are not about to run out of breeze. Luckily the barometer is not climbing and there are still clouds in the sky which are both good signs. Perha