by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 8 of the second stage of Leg 4. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Brad Jackson (R) and Jono Swain (L) on deck as Mar Mostro passes Haha Jima, a small island of Japan. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race
Life has gotten a little giddy! I made reference yesterday to improved morale and a brighter mood, but I assumed it was merely a byproduct of our returned presence to the front of the fleet. Today it has grown out of hand. More laughs than I can remember in a very long time, and it has come at the cost of sleep, and possibly even performance. We are spending far too much time clowning around near the companionway – mostly at each other’s expense. Why, I asked? Why is everyone so funny in such dreadful living conditions? Then, I saw it.
At 5:30 this morning, just after sun-up, we passed to windward of one final Japanese island. And its name? Haha Jima. Of course. Obviously the sirens of humor on Haha drew us in with a heavy dose of glee. But how far? Could our 'Sushi Tour' through Japan have been their doing? Sadly, we will never know. The boys on deck refused to stop – something about winning a yacht race – and we are well on our way towards New Zealand.
Laughs aside, eight days into this leg we are finally going south. The [very] gradual turn down has begun and Puma’s Mar Mostro is averaging south-of-east every watch, even if only by a few degrees. That trend will continue and in time, intensify. And if the weather models agree, we’ll all face a continuous header, pinwheeling the fleet around the inside boats further to the south, like Olympic runners arching through their first turn. Being on the outside means we’ll sail a longer track, but we’re positioned where the winds are supposed to be strongest, hopefully slingshotting us towards Auckland near the leader(s), maybe HaHa’ing all the way?
Ken Read at the dishwasher. 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