The closeness of this boat race amazes me at times. Time and time again boats spread out across the ocean, make big gains or losses then reappear as if they were picked up and placed nearby to make the race more interesting again. There have only been a handful of days that we haven’t been in sight of Puma this entire leg and this morning they reappeared on our bow, which was a very welcome sight.
It was almost within a space of 24 hours that we had been held up under a cloud and Puma had stretched out to a nearly 50 mile lead, fast forward to yesterday morning there they are, only a matter of miles ahead again. There is of course a good reason for this, the tireless hours Nico and Will have been in the nav station plotting best course evolved into big gains back into the leaders over the past night.
Unfortunately almost as quick as they appeared they disappeared again along with any wind at all, and so one of the most painful days I have experienced in this race began. It has been utter torture. Just sitting, the guys unable to do anything or get anywhere because there is literally not a hint of wind. It is the feeling of total helplessness which nags at you. There is no breeze to cool things down at all so the heat is inescapable.
But worst of all, all I could think was there is no way any of the other boats can be doing any worse than us because it is simply not possible to go any slower. Well, such was the case until a sked came through and somehow we had made 0.66 of a mile on Puma. It takes real mental strength to not let the utter frustration get the better of you in these situations. At one stage a small puff of 3 knots came along, it was cause for about 10 minute celebration, then cruelly it was gone.
Finally, a half decent breeze emerged late in the evening and just like that we are away again sailing at about 8 knots, which seems like great speed given the day of drifting we had. It is our hope that the boats behind us remain parked up for a while longer so all of our efforts can go into chasing Puma down again just over the horizon. We are hoping that this leg has now turned into a 2-boat match race, but like we saw Telefonica drop so many miles the other night, nothing is given and wont be until the finish line is crossed. This will be a very long 48 hours or so until then.
The sky is graffitied with jet streams, Mike keeps pointing them out and saying how wise the other people going to Miami are because they aren’t trying to sail there. Animal is pretty certain they are not from passenger planes but from air force jets and drones. I’m with Animal
I am so hot right now… there is no where to hide from the heat.
GOLDEN QUOTE: “So close yet so far away for most of the day.” ROB SALTHOUSE