by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 15 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Ryan Godfrey performing sail maintenance aloft, where the main rubbed against the spreaders repetitively during Southern Ocean sailing. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
What gives? We leave Auckland roughly half a mile ahead of Groupama, spend almost two weeks sailing across a massive ocean, wake up, cross tacks, and find ourselves in the exact same position. Unbelievable.
And I guess this answers yesterday’s question as to our race strategy. Right now the focus is clearly on boat speed. Keep them close, sail fast, and they shouldn’t have a chance to break away. Losing in small doses is favourable to losing big, all at once, and since we believe in our team and our boat, maybe it’s time to line up and go toe-to-toe, all 1,200 miles in to Itajaí, Brazil.
Of course, there are plenty of forecasted obstacles and trip-ups between here and there that could prevent us from doing just that, but sailboat racing is never predictable and all we can do is stick to our guns on this one and hope to stay in touch.
Ken Read keeps an eye on Groupama through the binoculars as they sail less than a mile to leeward. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
It sounds silly, but with over a thousand miles to go, it feels like someone somewhere is waving a white flag to indicate we’re on the last lap. It is, even at this great distance, a sprint to the finish – at least that’s the way it seems in our minds. Nobody’s sleeping much, we’re constantly analysing boat-to-boat angles, spying through our binoculars and on the radar… The trimmers are tweaking way more than usual, there’s much less casual conversation, and everyone’s giving it well over 100%, even in our state of exhaustion. There’s no question… we want this one badly!
I emailed Yann Riou, Groupama’s MCM, and asked what they were having for dinner before the sun went down. His reply?
'I am making a cake for Martin's birthday. Chocolate and rum (remaining from Cape Horn). Ease the sheets, come and join us!'
Nice one Yann. We had leftover protein bars for lunch.
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website