South Bound


South Bound

Ken Read from Puma in the VOR sent this for y’all. Enjoy.

Hi Anarchists,

"PUMA’s il mostro" here, dipping into the Southern Ocean, going upwind! NOT GOOD. Very lousy weather system holding is us all back right now and it is quite frustrating, we have to make the best of it though. For the first time in the race, the weather routers all chose different paths after going through the scoring gate off the northeast corner of New Zealand. I think for the first time each boat had to do some very serious interpreting of what the weather routing was telling us. We all took to the information differently and quickly had some pretty big splits. But after it is all said and done, we will probably be all within a mile or so from each other anyway. That is the way this race has been since the start.

Volvo fans I am sure have been following the antics of the fleet for the last 20 days since leaving Qingdao. Big breeze and cold, blast reaching, tropical Pacific close reaching, a quick jaunt through the islands of Fiji, lead changes and more lead changes and finally a 250 mile wet fast reach to New Zealand which decided the first scoring gate. The first three boats were within about six miles after nearly 6000 miles of sailing. Unfortunately, for the home team, we were on the tail end of those six miles but it wasn’t for lack of effort, I can tell you that. The final margin was really decided as we went through a very light air ridge about 600 miles from the gate. E3 came from 10 miles back to about a half mile to leeward in what seemed like 30 seconds. We had been holding off E4 nicely through the night but they still were on our weather hip about a mile away, and this was after 5000 plus miles of sailing!!!! Great for the sport, not good for the ulcer!! We knew the wind was going to head all the way around until we tacked to port and fetched all the way to the land of the long white cloud, which it did. Problem was, during a squall E4 simply sailed away over the horizon. There was nothing we could do- they were there one minute and gone the next. UGGGHHHH!!! E3 and il mostro sat and waited and finally they got the new breeze first and poked out a couple miles, which was almost exactly the distance between the two boats for the last 400 miles. Neither team gave an inch. We just came up short.

So, time to have a short memory and get to Cape Horn first. That is the next scoring gate. We should have some fast sailing in a few days, but until then we will get a bit of a beating sailing upwind in order to position ourselves properly for a northerly breeze which is still a way off. It’s very tactical out here, which is fun yet frustrating all at the same time. Decisions that are made now have consequences days and sometimes weeks away- pretty wild when you think about it.

All in all it is pretty nice aboard today. The boat is fairly dried out and a nice meal of…I actually don’t know what it was but it was somewhat edible so I am not complaining nor do I want to know what it was supposed to be. Welcome to life at sea. I know all at home seems doom and gloom, but things will rebound because they always do. As will il mostro. Don’t count us out yet, lot of game to play still.

Kenny Read
Skipper, PUMA il mostro