by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 6 of Leg 7. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Michi Müller trimming the main for watch partner Tony Mutter. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
'No more Snickers,' Michi Müller.
I distinctly remember looking at the routing computer in the nav station two days out of Miami and seeing six days and 20 hours remaining. That was a mistake… I never should have looked, or gotten my hopes up that it might actually be that quick (no leg this race has gone according to plan, other than the ones we were supposed to dread in the first place!).
I don’t want to make it sound like all we do out here is count down the hours until an arrival, but there’s a certain degree of mental preparation that goes into each leg, and then and there I prepared myself for a relatively simple and direct route of around nine or 10 days, and I know I wasn’t alone. So, sitting here on my bunk in fleece pants, wool socks, a sleeping bag, winter hat, and a Puma pullover – looking at a leg of 12 days, maybe more – I wonder… what went so wrong!?!
In the beginning it looked like we’d never come this far north, certainly not within 200 miles of the VOR mandated ice gate, because there was little way through a ridge of high pressure clogging the middle of the Eastern seaboard. But along comes a rare tropical storm to shake everything up, and now we’re slamming upwind, short-tacking through the northern Gulf Stream, just south of Nova Scotia waters. Not exactly ideal, but definitely in line with more 'traditional' transatlantic crossings, a route that some of us weren’t necessarily prepared to endure.
Nonetheless, it’s uncomfortable and cold, and we’re stuck bashing into a big seaway while looking for an escape around the top of this high. Everyone’s criss-crossing around out here and the first boat free will likely have a large advantage as forecasts are calling for fast downwind conditions, but the weather isn’t going according to schedule and we’re still searching for a sign of the system’s northern boundary. Until we find it life will remain busy, bumpy, cold, and slow, and I’ll continue to feel wronged by the world of weather routing!
Jono Swain adjusting sail trim after a tack. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website