by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 14 of Leg 6. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Action above and below deck as Ken Read works at the nav station while the crew sail under full "super moon" conditions. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
I’m not going to say much about the weather… it’s more than cooperating and I don’t want to jinx it. We have one more area of projected drifting on our way to Miami, and I worry that if I go off talking about how nice of a surprise yesterday was, how incredibly perfect the sailing was – especially when the early outlook looked so bleak – I worry I might eliminate the chance of it happening again when we hit the final hurdle of high-pressure tomorrow.
Instead, I’ll mention a few finer observations from Mar Mostro life on our way west.
1. The so-called SuperMoon is, in fact, super. Man was it big and bright coming up over the horizon! Blinding. Sailing last night was no different than sailing during the day: you could see waves and wind on the water, and the sails were lit well enough for strobe-free trimming. We wondered what affect, good or bad, it might have on the tides and currents through the countless Caribbean and Bahamian islands we’ll be passing over the next couple of days.
2. Numero uno is casual. We’ve arguably been leading this leg since it started, and most would assume that creates an environment of high stress; there is always more to lose than gain. But to the contrary, these have been some of the most relaxing and enjoyable 14 days of this race. Maybe that’s because it’s warm and we’re sailing a Volvo 70 without shirts or shoes, but I think it’s because we’re confident and comfortable, happy and loose. Team chemistry has always been great but our performance so far this leg has helped to affirm our abilities. Time on deck is flying by while preoccupied with stories, debates, and lengthy laughs, and sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of a race.
3. Rationing for a Wednesday night or Thursday morning finish is finished. Yesterday I split our large chicken tikka meal in half and made up the difference with leftover mashed potato powder. The day before that we had leftover protein bars for lunch. So now we have two extra meals, plus lots of extra cereal and bars to fill the un-provisioned time at sea. Not that we purposefully pack light or consistently misread the routing, but arriving late has been a bit of normality this race. Rationing like this gets easier every time and it all feels very under control now. No panic whatsoever. Even managed to squirrel away a few extra savoury snacks for the guys, too, but that’s a surprise! Closely monitoring coffee consumption…might be tight on that one.
4. Where’s all the wildlife? We’ve soon almost nothing out here. One whale, a few dolphins, and one jumping mahi. Are flying fish top dog?? They running the show? Seems like those little guys are all we see…
5. Sick of Sargasso. The weed’s still everywhere and it seems we spend most of our time trying to keep it off the rudders.
6. iPods. They’re changing hands faster than we can keep track of, and I haven’t seen mine in a few days. Tony woke up to three or four in his bunk-side holder the other day. It’s hard to imagine what this race would have been like without them.
Anyways, today should be another great one and hopefully our good fortune continues! The boat’s going fast, everyone’s happy, and we’re privileged enough to be sailing through some of the nicest waters in the world. Life is good.
Michi Mueller rests at sunrise. 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