by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 8 of Leg 7. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Stronger winds and rougher weather ensure a faster few days ahead. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
It’s always fun waking up to the sound of water rushing by your head at 20 knots, especially when it indicates the forecast and actual conditions have agreed for a change. The boat is swerving erratically and while living conditions are again tough, our bow is finally pointed at Portugal – maybe the first time in days that has been the case – and we are finally devouring the remaining miles to Lisbon.
We’re also seeing some early rewards for our setup to the north. Having more runway to the south means we can choose to sail higher with bigger sails for longer, gaining valuable leverage on all but Abu Dhabi to our east, or we can choose to stay low and hold our northerly lane – the more likely scenario. While everyone will essentially be lining up on the leading edge of this overtaking front, its angle is such that it extends farther east to the north, and with more pressure, too, so staying north will allow us to best exploit those features on the long run to the finish.
But there is no sugarcoating it: the implications of the next four days are huge. If you had told us we’d eventually be in contention for the overall lead while pulling our rig from the ocean, 2,000 miles from continental coastline, or while taking 37 jerry jugs of fuel from a passing freighter, or hiking a volcano on Tristan, or waiting five days there for another five of piggy-backing to Cape Town, we probably would have passed it off as lunacy. But here we are, fighting tooth and nail to make that a reality, and with both Abu Dhabi and Sanya in play there is a very serious opportunity to put some places between us and the current podium-possessors.
We still have everything to gain and nothing to lose, and we’re all hoping that proves to be a dangerous combination down the stretch! These are exciting times onboard Puma’s Mar Mostro...
Brad Jackson driving the twilight shift. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website