Leg 4, Day 15
5 March 2012
Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG
LOCATION: 250 miles W of Vanuatu (sight of Survivor TV series)
SAILS: Code-0, staysail, full main
WEATHER: Sunny and “Africa” hot
God it’s hot. We’re back to “suffering the simmering” onboard Mar Mostro, and we were joking that we should fill one of the bow chambers with water to make our own hot tub. If we’re only going to get two days off in Auckland prior to Southern Ocean preparations and stopover sailing activities (how disappointing is that?), we might as well start our rest and recovery out here!
I’m only a rookie at this game of offshore racing, but I’ve discovered a “veteran’s move” of warm weather comfort: boiling two kettles of water – my full time job – turns both propane tanks cold, the kind of cold that none of us have felt in over two weeks. If you grab them and close your eyes for a few seconds you can almost pretend you’re gripping a frosty milkshake. Or a bowl of ice cream. Or a glass of Coca-Cola. It’s a brief victory of mind in an otherwise sweltering environment. But these are the kind of distractions that keep life somewhat sane out here…finding something cold in an otherwise un-cold world.
While on the topic of victories, they continue to prove as illusive as ever for us on the racecourse. The battle of east versus west wages on, but at the current moment the west appears to be pulling ahead. To think that Telefónica has again converted an incredibly difficult position, starting 200 miles to leeward, into being just 50 miles behind [in “distance to finish”], it’s agitatingly impressive. But our turf war is far from over. That trio still have a long way upwind towards New Caladonia, and it’s there we’ll truly know how we’ve fared. The large island will serve as a turning mark for us all, and until we round its northwestern corner to make our left-hand turn towards New Zealand, there’s a lot that can happen with such radically different weather forecasts to our south.