Boat Blogs from Day 22, Leg 1 Volvo Ocean Race as the fleet approaches Cape Town. ERICSSON 4 LEG ONE DAY 22 QFB: received 01.11.08 1942 GMT
It’s been an odd day on E4 today. We came out of our stealth mode - which didn’t really do much for us - we just carried on as normal.
We have been going ok on Puma and are happy that we are between them and the mark, just have to wait for the park up in Table Bay and watch the fleet sail around us!
The feeling onboard is different as we know we are getting near the end of our separation from the outside world. People have been busy preparing job lists and tidying the boat up after the 'hanging on mode' of mid week’s fast and furious ride.
Lots of the boys have been catching up what they can with rest - we know that the last 150 miles of this leg will probably be some of the toughest as the breeze gets lighter and less predictable the closer to land we get.
We have had a deluge of small ‘Portuguese man o war' jelly fish on deck this evening. These nasty little sods can give you quite a sting, so care is taken before moving sails or grabbing rope. We had a distant escort of whales earlier - seeing what was screaming past them - although they didn’t get closer than a few hundred metres and quickly vanished from view.
A little earlier, a large Albatross (our first and only) came in low level, then suddenly soared up and gave us a solitary fly by before getting down between the waves and off on his own business. He looked like a large wise old thing and I imagine that we are not the first round the world competitor he has seen; he certainly gave the impression that he wasn’t too interested in us.
All else is good onboard and the apprehension of a difficult night and the chance that we may have to roll our sleeves up and fight once more is firmly planted in our minds
Guy Salter MCM
-------------------------------------- PUMA LEG ONE DAY 22 QFB: received 01.11.08 1327 GMT
Being about oNe day out and hopefully a relatively smooth ride in has given some time for reflection on the leg. I have been very impressed with the boat’s performance and perhaps a little surprised as to how we can sail the boat better. We can see the advantage of a two new boat programme but are happy with the stage we are at. I expect to see some improvements across the board but particularly in the strong downwind sailing.
Speaking of which, a huge congratulations to the E4 team. To maintain that level of pace is a credit to their preparation and skill. Personally, it was a big reminder of the difficulty that comes with keeping everything together in those conditions. Will it fall again this race? Maybe, but it will take a very good set of conditions.
It’s great to see how much this generation of boats has moved on with higher speeds, greater reliability and, I am hoping, less repair work for our shore teams. It’s nice to have confidence in the package of boat and crew. My arrival last time in Cape Town was in a 747, it sure is nice to be hopefully arriving in second.
It has been nice watching the battle going on down south but enjoying the northern sunshine!
I think we will all see the huge benefit having an onboard media specialist has been. I expect the footage will be impressive, although I can remember asking Rick Deppe a few times, if he got ‘that’ wave and nosedive crash at the bottom and he gave me a look of self-preservation first and footage a close second.
Other changes to the race is with the under 30s. Our two guys, Casey (Smith/AUS) and Michi (Mueller/GER) have had huge legs and really stood out. Personally, I reckon if you have a look at them when they hit the dock they might look a bit older now!
Chris Nicholson – watch captain
-------------------------------------- TELEFONICA BLACK LEG ONE DAY 22 QFB: received 1015 GMT
It is getting colder and colder as we get deep south, trying to avoid the high pressures which are catching us up through the north. Not strange, as the sea temperature goes to less than 13ºC, but all of us are well prepared.
We are going at a nice pace, and we hope to be home in a few days, providing we avoid this high which prevents us from taking a more direct track. But anyway, considering the problems we had, we keep high spirits on board and there is always a smile even when talking about controlling the food, in case we last more than predicted!
So, as there was no much news apart from our flock of flying bodyguards, which keep on our track day and night (albatrosses and giant petrels), thanks for your support.
Mikel Pasabant - MCM
----------------------------------- GREEN DRAGON LEG ONE DAY 22 QFB: received 01.11.08 1112 GMT
Phil Harmer (aka Wendy) is man of the match today. As well as telling us the best story of the trip so far, he has now rebuilt two spinnakers on board in double quick time.
The first, the fractional, was relatively minor and took 6 hours but yesterday’s was a biggie. We were guilty of pushing too hard trying to minimise the losses from our damaged keel by flying the masthead spinnaker at night in over 25 knots of wind and quite big waves.
We were hit by a line squall and the rapidly rising wind lead to a sequence of events that meant the spinnaker was in shreds. Fortunately, we salvaged all the pieces, but this was a big blow, as we will need this sail all the way to Cape Town. Phil wasn't on watch at the time (9pm) and was woken up to piles of soaking wet, ripped sailcloth down below. He didn't say anything but I read his mind.
By 6am and, with a bit of help from others off watch, he had it ready to go back up and it is now flying as good as new (well sort of) in 25 knots again. At times like this everyone really pulls together as a team as this was the last thing we needed right now.
The lads are pretty tired. For nearly a week now, we have been sailing a 'double standby' watch in strong wind. In simple terms, this means you only get 2 hours in your bunk every eight - which is not enough. It does mean that when it is rough we have seven people in kit ready to be on deck at a moment’s notice. We have needed them on several occasions.
The only other news is that we have gybed so we are now pointing pretty much at Cape Town. This is good for morale, not least as we are heading north again. It has been gloves and hat weather the last few days - Neal (McDonald/GBR) has even taken his shorts off and put on thermals.
It is frustrating knowing that we could be sailing so much faster and seeing ERT3 crossing us when we would have been so well clear of them but that's yacht racing and the other night could have been so much worse. We have about 2 days to go and we are starting to count down the miles in fifties. Happy Days.
Ian Walker - skipper