by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 7 of Leg 7. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Kelvin Harrap enjoying some light-air downtime on the bow. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
'So much for getting out of the high and the old ‘rich getting richer’ thing…' Ken Read.
Getting a sunburn where we are now is probably a lot harder than yesterday made it seem, but when you spend the majority of the day laying on the bow – as we did – just about anything’s possible. Following a few busy days of upwind sailing, yesterday’s light air offered ample time to catch up on rest; drifting in the middle of a high-pressure system meant there was almost nothing to do but doze and dream. Michi, who after multiple wake-up attempts typically hops out of his bunk just a few minutes before he has to be on deck, had to be woken up to go off watch…and that was good for a solid laugh!
But really, as comfortable and pleasant as a warm mid-Atlantic day in the sun can be, it’s not what we want to be doing and it’s always hard sitting still for so long. Were it not for three knots of Gulf Stream current under the boat, yesterday might have been a complete write-off. We would no doubt vote unanimously: 24 hours and 500 miles of extreme discomfort is always better than 24 hours and 150 miles of book-reading bliss. We’re here to go fast and win a race, and it’s hard to do that in just four knots of wind.
The mind seems willing to put up with a certain amount of frustration if an end is in sight, and as we convened on the bow the topic of conversation mostly revolved around our escape – the first boat out of this high should have a massive head start – and whether our northerly position that we worked hard to get would soon pay its dividends. Everything pointed to a first night of fast sailing ahead, but as has been the case with much of this race, the weather isn’t cooperating and last night brought no breeze and only more frustration. It defies logic…sailing away from the high should produce stronger winds, but for the time being it’s only getting lighter.
Regardless, we’re here now and we’re committed to the north, and there’s really not much to do other than keep the old girl going as best we can. Eventually the high will move on and we’ll get to punch our ticket for the fast ride east towards Lisbon. We just hope it fills here first! As long as we get first dibs at post-high pressure, its belated arrival could mean nothing more than a delayed finish in Lisbon.
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website