by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 5 of the second stage of Leg 4. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Navigator Tom Addis prepares the runner winch before a tack, with Brad Jackson at the helm. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
It only gets stranger. We’re surrounded by Japanese islands, one of which we passed within a mile of last night, and being by ourselves is again a surprise. Nobody’s necessarily excited about it, and it was never part of our game plan to begin with, but we’re clearly sailing in a different weather system than the rest of the guys and it just sort of 'happened.'
Our reasoning to go north was grounded: you have to go there to get east, and you have to go east to get south, and south is where we want to finish. So we followed our favorable breeze and trusted the computer models, all the time hoping the rest would follow. They didn’t – at least not yet – and they’ve all managed to survive an early easting.
Whether it was one cloud line or several, it doesn’t much matter. What matters is that we never had what everyone else did. To add insult to injury, when we finally found the penultimate shift to start our long trek east into, we had to wait for five miles to avoid tacking through a microscopic volcanic summit – only two years old! Hello Taisho To. Welcome to Earth.
By any measure we are still doing the right thing for our particular set of circumstances. Tom and Ken have worked tirelessly to decode the forecasts, and the computer models don’t tend to lie. So we, like you, will just have to wait this one out and see what happens.
What amazes me still though, is the ability of this team to work through continued adversity. It has been a sleepless couple of days, a tough leg, an even tougher race, and nobody has given up an inch of effort or enthusiasm. I’m happy to slug it out up here along with these 10 guys, even if it is in VOR solidarity.
Rome Kirby mowing on some delicious Beef Rotini freeze-dried dinner. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website