by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race - Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress during day ten of Leg 4.
Tony Mutter powers through a rough sea in strong winds on the way home to New Zealand.
523 miles in 24 hours is a lot of miles for a sailboat. That’s averaging 22 miles per hour over the last day, and it’ll likely improve over the next few hours too. Not so bad for close reaching in 20 knots of breeze and an awful sea state. It’s also the most our Mar Mostro has logged this race (we were unfortunate to miss the high speed run into Cape Town with some minor mast problems).
It feels good to be going fast…psychologically at least! Sailing this way is fun, and it’s what everyone thinks about when they sign up to sail around the world. It’s also a return to the painful existence of slamming and crashing, only this time it’s sunny, wet, and getting hotter by the hour. We shouldn’t be complaining though; instead of suffering upwind, doing 12 knots towards Japan, we’re 'suffering' downwind, going twice as fast and pointed straight at Auckland.
Kelvin Harrap enjoys his somewhat salty Milky War bar on the back of the boat. 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)
A lot of people wonder – at 22 knots these boats are soaking wet, what can you do to stay dry? The easy answer is: nothing. You live wet and deal with it. No item of clothing can withstand the torrential torrent of water over the deck. And what’s wet stays wet.
There’s zero chance of drying anything in the heat and humidity. All you can do is figure out how much clothing you have, how much time you have left, and schedule your wardrobe maintenance accordingly. But to be honest, it’s pointless. Twenty minutes into your next watch and it will all be soaked, old and new.
Wet, dry, hot, cold – it doesn’t really matter. It’s not exactly a race of comforts. But it is a race, and one that’s very close. In theory, the wind should continue to head making our sailing angles to the south slightly faster than those to our west. They might struggle to reach our line, but that’s exactly why we came so far east to begin with; it’s nice to see that early work paying off…Next up, the Solomon Islands. We should know a lot more about where things stand by then, but for the record, we are very happy with our position!
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website