by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 12 of Leg 2. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Brad Jackson eyes the sail trim for the leeward side. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
This race takes a long time: nine months in total and around 130 days of sailing. But inside that time there are smaller segments – months, weeks, days, hours – and they comprise of legs. This team has been running from the time we left Alicante (only one day off since), and those smaller segments of time are taking longer now than ever. Our current doldrums drift-off emphasizes that point: we’ve only been in here for one night but it already feels like a week.
We’ve also made the unfortunate mistake of looking ahead to the finish, just three or four days away now. It’s easy to do with all of the talk about Christmas, family, rest, and relaxation, but as we run on up the track here our minds sometime drift a bit towards some much needed time off.
I know for me, time has been a confusion this leg. Boat time is still Cape Town time. I'm working on Alicante (Volvo) time, and my cooking follows daylight time; it’s wildly complex. And what’s worse, I habitually speak in 12-hour tongue when everyone else seems to work in 24. I spend a lot of time just trying to sort out my 'time,' as ridiculous as that sounds.
Interpreting time and schedules out here can be funny, too. There do not need to be three different names to describe the exact same moment in time! UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and Z (Zulu) are all presently used to indicate one time, for what reason I don’t know.
To bring it full circle, we’re all very much cognizant of time right now. How much time do we have left on board, how much time until we get through the Doldrums, how much time until we get to where we’re going, and how much time will we have to take a combined deep breath?
On the upside…the faster we go the sooner we get there, and the first boat there gets the most time off, so believe me when I say we’re pedal down! In 3.8 knots of wind, though, that’s a bike pedal. A rusty, old, bike pedal.
Navigator Tom Addis eyes the radar screen from the navigation station. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Cape Town, South Africa to Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website