• Volvo Ocean Race: Riding The Aqua Flying Carpet



    Curled up in her bunk, Sara Hastreiter shows off a precious keepsake - a painting of the Team SCA boat by her father.


    NOVEMBER 1, 2014





    On deck, the guys have been facing white-walled waves that crash over the cockpit as they surf down ocean swells four meters high. As the ride down one wave ends, the bow of Azzam will plow into the next sending freezing seawater crashing up the deck with a power strong enough to knock you over.
    The best part: this is only an introduction to Southern Ocean sailing.

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing





    ETA is 6 or 7 days, and I imagine getting to dock and tying up the boat, among a long lists of other things to do since the next leg is starting in less than 3 weeks. The first thing I am going to do is have a cold Coke, then have a burger and, after that, a nice hot shower. The things you miss the most on board, aside from the people you love, is good food and a shower. This is the price you pay to sail the world - and sail it fast!
    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE






    We take one day at a time; each day is different—each hour is different. “The rich will get richer at this point,” Libby said yesterday afternoon. And we all felt like deflated balloons—the distance just kept growing! Yesterday afternoon we couldn’t hit our performance numbers either—we had the best sailors in the correct places and they all said the boat felt slow, but couldn’t figure out why


    By late afternoon though, everything had changed. The wind picked up and decided to stick around a bit longer than expected, waves began crashing over the bow, and we were sailing fast. Everything felt a little better. Even the position report didn’t sting as much.
    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA

    http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/virtualeye.html




    We all woken as different men, well, three of our crew have. 40-degree virgins they are not! We have broken the 40° barrier this morning, diving south and east into the infamous “Roaring 40’s”. This stretch of water is also technically now the Southern Ocean.

    What delight for all of us to pick up this long awaited front. It seemed like Wouter was messing with us, just another day guys! We all feel like we have been off the coast of Rio for a life time.

    20-26 knots of wind, a moderate swell pushes Vestas along in the right direction for Cape Town.




    I can’t describe what it feels like for both the young guys and I. It’s the closest thing to Christmas morning onboard.
    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind


    On the back of the boat is standing the Spaniard Arrarte. Hidden away behind his balaclava, he tries to recreate the temperature of his beloved Santander. But alas, even the stock of warm clothing that this Spanish sun worshipper carries with him is not resistant against the cold. It’s misty, water cold and the wind meter is showing 28 knots. A big wave rushes over the front deck and changes the cockpit into a bath tub of ice water. Arrarte takes again a little look into the navigation room: more often than usual today.

    Stefan Coppers, OBR
    Team Brunel






    A first for Wolf, Horace, Thomas and Eric whose boots step for the first time in the Forties. Well, it’s not exactly like the tourism brochure said – yes, it’s grey, windy, and there are albatrosses…. We’ll have come back to experience the long west swell.
    Instead, we’ve had a choppy sea state, stopping us from going as fast as we could with this wind. It does look like the English Channel in a southwest wind, minus the ships…

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team



    The goal is Cape Town and we’re making good progress in that direction. Our position to the south has its rewards, many of which will play out in the long run. So we have to be patient and not get flustered when a difficult weather scenario like this makes a mess of the position reports.

    There are some significant hurdles left on the course and the general consensus is that there are big opportunities for gains from behind, all the way to the finish line. It’s a theory we plan on putting to the test.

    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica


    ***********************************************
    OCTOBER 31, 2014







    Like flipping a light switch. Off to on in so much as an instant, the anticipated westerlies of the South Atlantic have finally arrived—28 knots now—and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly life onboard can change. One minute you’re enjoying a nice casual sleep, twelve knots of wind and comfortable in your sleeping bag. Things are pretty mellow, tranquillo as Charlie says. Your iPod probably ran out of battery while you were dreaming, dreaming about home, maybe a steak in Cape Town. It really doesn’t matter—you are dreaming.


    Something wakes you and you open your eyes and ears to a very different, very alarming setting. It’s pretty chaotic, actually. Your eyes adjust to the darkness, slowly, with the only light coming from red headlamps of the guys doing very much the same all around you. As the boat careens through the night like an out of control freight train, carving a trench through the ocean while obliterating every bit of water in its way, it is loud—constant loud like the rumble of distant thunder. You can actually hear the speed, feel the speed. Like accelerating in a sports car with your eyes closed, off-road, in the rain.

    People on deck are yelling, bags down below are flying, waves are shooting through the hatch, and all you and everyone else just rising from their bunks are trying to do is wake up, simply get to your feet. And the kettle’s just tumbled to leeward because the boat is on its side. You hear it clank loudly, twice, on the way down and it lands in the [rapidly filling] bilge with an audible splash—a noise so annoying, so bothersome in principle--that you know it will someday occupy your nightmares. Gonna have to go get that. Like, right now.

    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica







    We’re past the 40th parallel… technically in the Roaring Forties. It’s not roaring at full strength yet, but this evening a frontal system rolled through an the wind speeds have been in the 25 knots range all night.

    I knew it was blowing hard when Chuny came back and, out of breath, says, “This is OK, no?” and before I can answer starts throwing all the heavy stacking gear both under and in my bunk because we were nose-diving into the waves and needed the aft weight.

    Still, a nice sailing day up until dinnertime. The heavy breeze is welcome.

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing





    Late last night I signed off with quite the sailing story. I’ll follow this up more now in detail that I’ve been educated by the crew. We were all waiting at 19:00 UTC for the six-hourly scheds, these position reports are massive news onboard, it allows us to gauge our performance and it tells us where the rest of the fleet is.

    Five minutes before the email had been received, Abu Dhabi popped up on AIS on our computer screens, shortly after it appeared out of the grey horizon passing only four miles just ahead. This was a tactical game Abu Dhabi played, six hours of no one knowing their position and they end up right in front of us before the sched. We think the east wasn’t paying off for them so they joined our line to the west to get to the south to the frontal systems quicker.

    The day brought a slight split in the trio up front, we are pushing hard to get south and be the first into the front coming possibly tomorrow. The others are further to our east. It’s all snakes and ladders now, Gain, Loss, Gain, Loss! Its hard to follow, I wonder what it’s like for you couch surfers at home. I bet some are getting less sleep than us, I know my Mom will be and probably all the mothers of their sons aboard too.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind





    First Albatross
    This morning we saw our first albatross. Surprising, because we were only at 32 degrees south. We wondered what it was doing there… Enjoying a holiday up north? We didn’t see any other.

    A first for…

    Tomorrow, Eric, Thomas, Wolf and Horace will sail for the first time by 40 degrees south. Even though they’re focused on the racing, Eric and Thomas are not taking this lightly. It’s something you want to do when you’re an offshore racer. It’s not the same for Wolf and Horace. We can see that the Roaring Forties legend didn’t really make it to China. Up to us to change this!

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team





    Twenty days ago, the idea of being at sea for twenty days was a bit daunting. Twenty days without a shower, twenty days without a run, twenty days with only a few changes of clothes. Twenty days without ice cream, steak, nor spinach.
    “Here we are twenty days into it. On day 3 it was really like holy cow, we still have a long way to go, but now it’s 20 days. It helps really being in the moment, one day at a time,” Sally said.

    Sally is right. Out here, it really is one day at a time. It’s one “sked” (aka position report) at a time. It’s sailing with the conditions you have, and doing the ultimate best with them. It’s not thinking about day 26 and preparing the sails and boat for day 26 because then you’ll be slow. Out here, you have to deal with today.

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA



    We’ve been thinking about all that has happened so far… And we realised that, not being in a confortable situation at the start has placed us where we are now. At least this is what Iker told me today, and that helped me understanding how and why we ended up in this situation.

    Crossing the Doldrums was difficult cause the west paid off and caused Brunel and Abu Dhabi to open a gap.

    Then, we chose to sail close to land, off the Brazilian coast, which is usually not that difficult, but the wind was really not consistent. We thought it was a safer option because the St Helena High was placed south at that time, but we didn’t end up sailing fast enough. Basically, after the Doldrums, we’ve been in the wrong place.
    We are far from the end of the race and we can still move up. We have six days of sailing ahead of us and we won’t let go.

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE

    http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/new...the-boats.html
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race started by PD Staff View original post