by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 4 of the second stage of Leg 4. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Casey Smith trims the mainsail and Ryan Godfrey stands by on the "pumps," in fast sailing conditions. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
There is a lot to be happy about onboard Puma’s Mar Mostro.
First and foremost, we finished the outrageously horrific batch of Chinese 'coffee' we had in the galley jar. It’s a true proof of this team’s toughness that we managed such a feat. It was downright undrinkable, but we well know it’s better to agonize and stay awake than throw it over the side and doze off. Nonetheless, I’ve got the Cappuccino Classic ready to replace the destruction the previous poison left, and sailors rejoice: better caffeinated nights ahead.
The first non-upwind sailing conditions of Leg 4 come on day 4. 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)
Second, we had a few hours of true downwind sailing this morning. Days upon days of a regrettable upwind thumping made seeing the A5, an actual sunrise, and boat speeds in the 20s as refreshing as cold lemonade on a hot summer day. Smiles all around brought a bit of cheer into our lives, too. It’s been a tough week for the lot of us and it felt great to share a few new laughs. Sadly, we’re back into upwind mode and the forecast is again calling for 20-25, right on the nose. It was fun while it lasted!
Third, we are finally free of the South China Sea, aaannnddd we’re back in the hunt. Patience, perseverance, and a never-hang-it-up mentality have seen us sail through the lost miles and we find ourselves staring right up the tail-pipe of Telefónica; Abu Dhabi and Sanya idle just to leeward. Seeing a competitor after being alone at the back for so long does wonders for the psyche and morale is considerably improved.
That said, the next few days are going to prove treacherous. There are passing lanes galore out here, unstable winds, currents, and a still-ambiguous heading away from New Zealand. Every decision – and there will be a lot of them – will be a major one. Either way, it’s great to be in the game and feel like there’s something to lose!
Puma Ocean Racing website