by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 1 of Leg 9. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Early morning light brings little colour onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
I feel the need to apologize before I write any further: sleep has not been a component of Leg 9 thus far and it’s hard to do anything at the moment that doesn’t start with keeping the eyes open.
So here we are... last full day of the Volvo Ocean Race [offshore scoring]. We knew full good and well on the dock in Lorient that it was going to be a tough leg for a number of reasons, and it has lived up to each and every one of them. Close sailing, rough weather, short duration, and high intensity...
With the top four positions still to be determined, each point remains crucial. Consequently, this legs’ 30 points are valuable enough to make all of us spend last night sitting (or lying) on the rail. That would be alright if we were passing the Bahamas, or Fiji, but we’re close-reaching through the English Channel in 25 knots of wind, rain squalls, and shivering-cold temperatures. It’s just another lovely July day on the way to the Irish Sea. Ugh! One final bashing for us and the old girl.
Following a solo split from the fleet before sundown in search of better winds and more favorable angles to the west, we found ourselves back in the game through the worst of it and we even managed to catch up with the leading pack. Out of the fog cane Groupama to leeward, and we slowly worked our way over the top of them before fading towards Fastnet in the fog. We shall see how things pan out, but we haven’t felt particularly fast as of yet, just overworked. Only 24 hours to go! And yes, we are counting.
Living is fairly uncomfortable at the moment, and it could be confirmed that everyone is wearing everything they packed. It’s damp, cold, wet, and nobody has slept but for a few winks on the rail. Our bunks are full of spares, food, and gear to keep what weight we have as far outboard as possible. As much as we’d like to focus on the significance of this being the end and all, there is far too much to endure for the time being to allow any reflection on the previous 39,000 miles. Focusing my eyes on the words I’m trying to type is proving hard enough, and it is on that note that I must conclude this here report. Plenty more to come, so wish us luck... And rest! There is a lot at stake.
Tom Addis and Brad Jackson in the nav station onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Lorient, France to Galway, Ireland. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website