by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 27 of Leg 1. Amory Ross, MCM onboard Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg reports on the crew's progress:
Sunset at the anchorage. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG takes refuge on the island of Tristan de Cunha after being dismasted in the South Atlantic Ocean during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Don’t lose the faith. Don’t lose the faith, no matter what. That’s been the message around here.
We think we know what caused the rig to fall and end our leg, which brings some degree of comfort to the situation, but nobody is dwelling. Our rescue ship is getting closer and we’re gradually putting the tourist gear away and donning the Puma sailing hats. Everyone’s buckling down now on the work lists and we’re sorting our lives for the next step towards the Cape Town starting line and leg two, so that when the Team Bremen arrives Friday afternoon we’re ready to get Puma’s Mar Mostro up and go.
It’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed our time here, because we really have. The last few days have been loaded with activities and Tuesday was downright epic. On Monday, we visited the Tristan lobster processing center, and overseer Eric Mackenzie gave us a tour that concluded with a complimentary box of local lobsters for 11 hungry customers; it didn’t last long… Eric then took us to see the four massive Volvo generators powering all of Tristan, and very impressive they were. Next came a presentation at the school and a bigger one that night for the locals. Tristan da Cunha has served as a maritime haven over the years so they’ve seen their fair share of visitors, but they have never seen a boat like ours, and the Puma story was one of great curiosity. It was the least we could do for a place that has absolutely embraced us all in the kindest of ways. We owe them a lot more.
The team hikes for the summit of the Tristan volcano, and Queen Mary's peak, some 6,700 feet above sea level. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG takes refuge on the island of Tristan de Cunha after being dismasted in the South Atlantic Ocean during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Tuesday a group of us decided that waking up at 6 AM and climbing a 6,700-foot volcano (roughly 2,000 meters) was a great idea. Not only did we do it in Puma sailing shoes, we did it fast: nine hours top to bottom. Our local guides Simon and Matthew claimed it to be a record for visitors. After lunch in the crater by the pond – snow still clinging to the walls – we summited, and were rewarded with a rarely seen descent down the back (the long way), a technically challenging but scenically stunning slope. Jono carried his walking stick, Kelvin spent much of the return trip sliding on his bum, and Tom and Tony walked down backwards to give their crushed toes a break. They might have been the fastest. We passed groups of nesting Yellow Nosed Albatrosses, giant cliffs, sheep, bogs, volcanic rock, red sand dunes, and finally met a waiting Land Rover at the bottom. The drive back was a quiet one – a whale breaching just offshore – but we were already fantasizing about the cold beer in the fridge. Getting to Queen Mary’s Peak was maybe a little more full-on than we were expecting!
So now the entertainment is over. A formal BBQ at Sean Burns house to cap it off, he’s the governor’s administrator from England, and then we’re in 100% boat-mode. But, no matter what we’ve been doing, nobody has ever – not once – hung it up and looked down. Don’t lose the faith… As I wrote just before we dropped our rig, we’ve got a good boat, a great team, and if we sail smart and safe, we’ll be in great shape. Nothing’s changed, not one bit. I speak for everyone when I say we’re looking forward to getting back on the race track soon and proving what we’re made of, making good on what we’re here to do:
Sail fast, and faster than everyone else.
Puma Ocean Racing website