19 mars, 2009

Lugnare segling mot Rio

Nu har farten avtagit väsentligt för båtarna i Volvo Ocean Race. Samtliga utom Telefonica Blue har tagit dig runt Kap Horn och seglar i cirka 13 knop. Ericsson3 har ökat sin ledning en aning och ligger nu 50 Nm före Ericsson 4. Puma är på tredje plats, 133 Nm efter Ericsson 3.

Här är den senaste pressreleasen från Race Office:

Wednesday 18 March 2009 16:30 GMT

The sound of grown men getting drunk on nostalgia could be heard at the point where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet last night. Cape Horn had intoxicated the hearts and minds of another batch of Whitbread/Volvo sailors.

One of those most affected was PUMA’s Ken Read. A maiden rounding of the Horn is a significant entry on a professional sailor’s CV and Read, who has been there and done almost everything else, is no exception.

It was little surprise then that when he and the crew of il mostro poked the bow of their Volvo Open 70 beyond the iconic Southern Ocean landmark at 20:46 GMT, he excused himself for romancing in the moment.

“I have never been accused of being the sentimental type,” he began. “If this, the southern most point of South America could talk, it would tell some harrowing tales of tragedy and heroics by sportsman and traders and businessman and adventurists alike, probably more so than any other nautical landmark in history.

“For this reason alone, it is a privilege to be let through these gates, the entrance to which must be earned and not simply taken.

“I am in awe of the sheer magnitude of the (Southern Ocean) passage and the final toll booth that lets you through and awaits the next yacht to venture this way. Il mostro and her crew of 11 have now rounded Cape Horn. Easy to stare at and dream about what has been and what will be. Maybe I AM becoming sentimental.” Indeed you are Ken.

The collection of Cape crusaders on il mostro is diverse in experience. Navigator Andrew Cape was making his seventh rounding, Erle Williams and Sidney Gavignet their fourth, with two each to Justin Ferris, Jerry Kirby, Rob Greenhaugh, Rick Deppe and Rob Salthouse. Joining Read in the rookie category were Michi Mueller and Casey Smith.

Like his skipper, Smith also bared his soul – and a lot more besides. Read promised the full home video of the “celebrations” at a later date but by way of a trailer, he added the crew had “broken out the Cuban cigars, the sailmaker’s oil, and the whisky – and Casey found the energy to get naked again. On the bow, waves crashing over him with a Cape Horn sign. Dear Lord. Welcome to my world. Never a dull moment around here.”

There was a rum do on Ericsson 3, first to round the mark at 12:22. It centred on Gustav Morin revealing plans to entrust the remainder of the journey to Rio to a certain Cap’n Morgan.

Magnus Olsson was making his sixth rounding of the Horn and Morin figured the 60-year-old skipper of the Nordic boat had earned a break. “We celebrated with a drink of Captain Morgan rum,” he said. “Captain Morgan’s going to lead us to Rio now because Magnus is so tired.”

You could never accuse the Green Dragon of not choosing their moments. The Irish-Chinese entry passed by the Horn on St Patrick’s Day. Skipper Ian Walker called it “fate”. Media Crew Member Guo Chuan would know it as ming.

Walker, one of many rookies to add the Horn notch to their belts, had one lament. It was dark when they rounded at 02:15 GMT (11:15 local). ‘”Not only was it the middle of a pitch black night, but we were 20 miles away at the closest point. I guess that means I’ll have to come back with my camera another time,” he wrote.

“We are going to celebrate with a special bottle given to us by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics at first light – I’m not sure what the bottle is yet but I hope it is strong. We should be in the Straits of Le Maire at the time.” By 09:30 GMT they were.

Walker agrees with the prophecy of Mark Chisnell from the parish of ZULU, that there are still some hard yards ahead before the first round of caipirihnias can be ordered.

“Everyone on Ericsson 3 has done a fantastic job and I emailed Magnus (Olsson) to tell him as much … “but they haven’t beaten us to Rio yet though,” he said.

By the 16:00 GMT Position Report, the gang of four were heading north-east in the Atlantic, passing west of the Falkland Islands. Ericsson 3 had preserved most of the advantage it held over Ericsson 4 in the run-in to Cape Horn and led the sistership by 45 miles.

PUMA was a further 100 miles back and Green Dragon, with an easterly route round the Falklands still on the table, at +239 miles (Distance To Leader).

As for Telefonica Blue (+746), Bouwe Bekking and his men were powering along in the Pacific in 16 knots aiming to round the Horn tomorrow morning ahead of an onrushing high. One last kick up the backside on this leg, is not what they need before turning for home.

Speaking of backsides, a question from our Comments section from Hernan Fuchs, who wonders what the “compartments” are like below deck. “Kitchen, toilet, bunks etc?”, he asks. This piece of lavatory humour from Magnus Olsson and our 3D Yacht Tour should provide the answers.

Meanwhile, Chris Gould pondered over the answer to our competition which challenged you to name the sailor who has competed in the most Whitbread/Volvos. Well Chris, here’s your answer … Roger, and out.