by Ken Read
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 1 of Leg 3. Ken Read, Skipper of Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg reports on the crew's progress:
A beautiful sunset greets PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during the first offshore night of leg 3 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
I have to admit that this has been one of the strangest months of my life. Never mind my sailing career.
Not in a million years did we ever think that our sailing yacht would be on a ship not once, but three separate times during this race so far. We never thought we would have approximately a month in between ocean sailing legs. I just had one of the nicest weeks vacation of my life catching some serious R and R with my wife, Kathy. We started this leg (part two) in a now disclosed location (Malé, Maldives) between a makeshift flag on the shore and a radio tower across a channel. And now we are off. Sailing the leg that really nobody looks forward to when they sign up for this race. Upwind for about a million miles!
Without rehashing the past, let’s look forward. day one of a 15-or-so day leg. Finally getting back into what we came here to do. Day one will be telling on this leg. Everyone is spread out, and there appears to be very little speed difference between the fleet at this point. We got to the left of the group early and that seems to have paid a bit, but only by a tiny amount. Seeing what we see right now, this race will restart about 10 times in the Malacca Straits – a notoriously fickle place to sail. In fact, during the last Volvo four of us finished about four minutes from each other after several 'restarts' going down the Straits. But, that finished in Singapore and this time we have another obstacle and that is the South China Sea with all the breeze and waves it can throw at you. So, things look good now but it is early days. There is a lot to come our way on this leg that is for sure.
The bottom line is that it is good to finally get back on schedule and begin to develop a rhythm in this race again. I can't imagine what it has been like to try and follow. It has been hard enough to keep track as a participant. Fear not, this thing is going to get back on track, and hopefully there will be a ton of great sailing to come for everyone to sink your teeth into from the comfort of your couch.
So sit back, relax and enjoy. My guess is your couch is a bit more comfortable than mine right now. It's about 100 degrees Fahrenheit down below and the sun has been down for hours. Tomorrow might be a bit toasty.
Puma Ocean Racing website