by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 1 of Leg 6. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Big breeze out of Itajai means crew weight moves all the way aft. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Where oh where do we begin?
I could rave about the Itajaí experience, our incredible Brazilian send-off and their passionate and constant support. I could tell the story of leaving the hotel yesterday morning on my bike to see the container ship Zim Monaco sailing into port, the exact same ship we met in the South Atlantic last November to take on fuel for our 750-mile mast-less motor to Tristan da Cunha. I could elaborate on what it feels like to be sailing home to America and our expectations for Miami. I could describe the generally high level of fatigue as we enter what might be the final 10-plus day leg of this race. I could talk strategy, explaining our plans for a challenging course that takes us over the equator and through the doldrums one final time. I could describe what it’s like having yet another difficult crew substitution, as we welcome Puma veteran Shannon Falcone to the line-up in the place of the injured Casey Smith.
With so much to say, I’ll stick to the immediately relevant: Itajaí was an incredible success. It was in many ways a model stopover that far exceeded any expectations. We couldn’t have imagined the welcome they gave us and the surprisingly massive arrival crowds, making a long trip to Brazil well worth the agony. And then, over the course of our stay, the way a small Brazilian city embraced an event they probably knew little of, and the way they showed up for our In-Port Race and yesterday’s departure… it was very unexpected and says a lot about how they promoted our sport and the Volvo Ocean Race in the region. There were so many happy people, so many new fans, and so much to smile about as we waved goodbye for the final time.
But now we sail to America, and to Miami, where we trade caipirinhas for mojitos and quiet beaches for busy ones. The familiarity of our destination is exciting, and everyone’s looking forward to returning Puma’s Mar Mostro to the waters of the North Atlantic, the very same waters this adventure began so many months ago.
'You know how you know you’re reaching people?! When there’s a guy on a pier in Brazil waving goodbye with an American flag, in a Boston Bruins jersey,' Ken Read.
(Whatever. He would have looked smarter in a Rangers jersey)
Ryan Godfrey (R ) and Shannon Falcone (L) trim the main after shaking the first reef. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website