5 oceans, 5 boats
With the Velux 5 Oceans Race quickly going from eight Open 60s to just five (or possibly six) over the past two weeks, the October 17th start is looking like a rehash of the previous race. Still a hell of a challenge, but five competitors just doesn’t get the blood pumping as much as eight. The diminished fleet is unlikely to provide a ton of exciting racing, so we’re hoping that the skippers can use the extensive media resources provided by the race organizers to bring the reality of the race right to our computers, and we’re relying on Brad Van Liew to do the lion’s share of showing us what a solo round-the-world race is really like. Here’s the latest from Brad, and be sure to check out his site here. Photo courtesy of Ainhoa Sanchez/onEdition.
The pace is getting faster as time marches forward. The start of the race is within sight at only eleven days away. The race village is taking shape. Tents surround the waterfront, with the Velux House as a central attraction adjacent to the race boats here in La Rochelle. It is a delicate balance right now between the logistics that go into preparing to start a 30,000 solo race around the globe and the emotions to do the same. The bottom line is that in less than two weeks I will depart here and head out with not just a goal to sail from France to South Africa as the first sprint of the race, but leave my children, Tate and Wyatt, and all the comforts of life on land.
On the technical side, we hauled the boat last week to work on one of the rudder bearings. We anticipated putting her back in the water this week, but the weather forecast changed enough that we had to rush and get the boat re-launched in front of a significant rain and wind storm. We have been looking over everything onboard with a fine tooth comb and have the running rigging work complete, as well as the sails getting a thorough check in the loft. The engine and charging system have been serviced. There are a lot of moving parts, and with our small team it is important to stay in tune with how the work list looks when positioned beside the timeline. I am busy in a few different directions and need to juggle training, scrutineering by the race committee, boat prep, family and several other areas.
The unfortunate news of the day is that Cristophe from Belgium has dismasted while delivering his boat to La Rochelle for the start of the race. This is a really big bummer as he was the first qualified racer and had accumulated more experience on his boat than any of us.
As we used to say at USC (that is So Cal for those reading from Charleston)… Fight On!
We’ll be back with more news shortly.
Anarchist Will did this quick interview with Brad..