by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 3 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Thomas Johanson on the helm in light winds. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.
'Rome, I just want to let you know that if they make me take the suppository pill, I want you to be the one to[administer] it.' – Casey Smith
What a difference a day or two can make. After what was reputedly one of the most violent beginnings to a Volvo leg start ever, we’re now preoccupied with sunburns, slatting sails, and an abundance of renewed energy with nothing to direct it towards. Life is almost too easy. It’s warm, it’s dry, nobody’s yelling over wind and waves, and we’re hardly moving anywhere at all.
Groupama lies no more than a mile upwind, Telefónica a mile or two to leeward and ahead, and Sanya has snuck up in the rear view mirror while continuing to narrow the gap with every hour. The four of us are stuck here for the time being while Camper deals with similar winds 20 miles away, and Abu Dhabi struggles to rejoin the fleet 400-some-odd-miles back.
Jono Swain catches up on some much needed sleep while hiding under his fleece. 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)
We’re all waiting for the same thing, and that's a lane of passage through the high-pressure ridge that has swallowed us whole. The first boat through gets to turn east and start the fast downwind trip towards the ice gate(s), but there’s no guarantee any of us will make it. There’s a decent chance this front will pass us by and we'll have to track north for the next one coming off of New Zealand’s coast.
Regardless of how the winds treat us in the coming days, it’s been nice relaxing in the sun for a little and these unusually temperate conditions have given us a chance to catch our breath, but it begs the question: would you rather be screaming towards the Cape, uncomfortable, clothed to the brim, and unhappy, or would you rather be where we are now — drifting around in tee’s, telling jokes, and working on our tans?
The answer is an obvious one… We’d all want to be tearing along, white knuckled, fast and furious, devouring the miles while saying we hate every second of it. I’ve been warned, to be careful what you wish for!
Volvo Ocean Race website