The Volvo Ocean Race crew on Team Alvimedica update us as they prepare to sail the boat offshore for the first time since having a race-compliant nine sailors onboard.
Team Alvimedica at sea
Not to state the obvious, but this is an important preparatory crossing for Team Alvimedica. With all but one of the crew confirmed and this being the first time the boat has been sailed offshore with a race-compliant nine onboard, we've got a long list of training tasks to accomplish and just eight or so days left to do it.
We're currently 250 miles southeast of Halifax and have been sailing east towards the distant ice gate that Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and we have committed to observing. But make no mistake, ice would not survive here. We're running with the Gulf Stream and the air's damp and water's warm; our precious little fans are the only things keeping bunks bearable. But we don't really know how much energy they take up, so we run them, and we run them hard because we need to learn.
Understanding energy consumption is crucial because it dictates battery charging intervals and more importantly, fuel stores. Bringing more fuel than necessary is heavy, and a heavy boat is slow. So, in essence, my slow-moving train of thought is burning laptop battery, costing the boat energy, fuel, and extra weight (must.think.Faster). But we need to learn what a typical day's energy needs are so we can provision and consume accordingly.
The same goes for food. I am in charge of packing and preparing the food and I keep telling the guys to eat what they want, what they think they'll need. We have plenty to get us to Southampton but we need to start pegging quantities. If we clearly need more of something like protein powder, we'll up it at the next opportunity. I definitely brought too many gummy bears, probably twice what's needed. And is it two cans of Mountain House freeze dried per meal or three? We've never sailed with nine crew so this is our first chance to answer some of these questions.
The idea is to be race ready as soon as possible, but that doesn't just include sail crossovers and trimming techniques. Racing around the world is a huge undertaking and training sessions like this one are vital to things like communication skills and organizing life onboard. It's why we're here, now, and the learning never stops.
Team Alvimedica website