by Ken Read
The Volvo Ocean Race has now reached day seven and things are finally beginning to look up for the crew of Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg. Skipper Ken Read shares with us how the crew has finally managed to escape upwind sailing.
Life onboard "Mar Mostro" got a little wet during one passing rain squall. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa.
Finally! Finally! Finally! We aren't going upwind. We actually have a downwind sail on and are going at wide angles and at high speeds. This is the reward for beating our brains out for almost a week. We now should be reaching and running to the point in the doldrums that you think can get you through the easiest.
Our team has come up with a theory. Ever since Amory Ross, our media guy, has come aboard we have gone upwind; literally, a couple thousand miles. We beat all the way from Lanzarote to Alicante. Then essentially during the practice race we had to Palma proved to be a beating all the way there and of course the wind changed so we beat all the way back. Our In-Port Race was all upwind sails as the wind changed direction and was so light we never put up a running sail. And now this. Six full days of going upwind. He said that he doesn't even think he has seen our running gennaker yet!
So, either this comes good and we start running, or we pitch him at the equator as our ultimate blessing to King Neptune…who is clearly pissed at us at this stage. So, for Amory's sake I certainly hope the reaching and running continues for a while.
Besides that, we are certainly in a bit of a battle with Telefónica, and never really more than ten miles have separated the two boats. Camper is with us, but about 100 miles back at this stage. For sure when you are getting to the Doldrums all bets are off. The French are battling light winds on the African shore, and at this stage my guess is that they are not pleased when they see our speeds in the 20s for the last couple of scheds. Although they have had a much nicer ride. Hopefully, they haven't run out of sunscreen, and we wonder if they have even put their foulies on yet – we have lived in ours for a week.
And, we hope that our choice of unpleasant climate starts coming good for us now.
Puma Ocean Racing Website
Volvo Ocean Race Website