by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 5 of Leg 6. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Typical tradewind cruising. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
One major component of sailing around the world that never shows up on any score sheet, sched, or progress report is team camaraderie. We spend the better part of a year with the same 10 guys, day in and day out, but unfortunately the tune of this race leaves little time or opportunity to relax. We exhaust most of our days running by each other on our separate paths around the boat. Routines are routines for a reason, and rarely do we have the conditions to break out of them.
But this leg has been different. For the first time I can remember, it’s pleasant enough to be on deck at all hours of the day. Day, night, dusk, dawn, it doesn’t matter; life is dry, warm, and the seas are flat. Guys are spending their off watches talking on the rail, shooting the poop, so to speak. Resting is easy, sleep is plentiful, and for the most part everyone seems eager to be on deck when they can be. We’re talking so much that maybe it’s a detriment to our performance! The groan of eased sheets and clicking of spinning winches is often lost in the sound of laughter. Inside jokes are being hammered more than ever, and the mood seems unusually casual. It feels like we’re getting to know each other all over again, and it’s made what could otherwise be considered a 'boring' sail (by this race’s standards) very enjoyable.
But once in a while – like every three hours – we’re reminded of our little race to Miami, and we again focus on making the boat go fast. We’re happy with our windward position on Camper and we’ve cashed in some of that leverage over the last 24 hours to foot down over their bow, fully expecting a geographic lift to take us clear of Brazil and towards the northeast before we hit the beach. The boat is going well, we’re adjusting to the squally conditions (conditions that demand everyone be ready to run at all times), and most importantly we’re having fun. Life is definitely fun at the front of the pack!
iPods are getting a lot of use in the nice weather. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website