Nick Dana, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Abu Dhabi Insider Blog – 1st May 2012
Hey Anarchists! The struggle continues. The facts are; we are in less wind then the boats ahead, less wind then the boat behind, and our last few schedules haven’t come in as positive as we had hoped. So time to make a change. As I write, we are peeling from the A3 spinnaker to the Code 0 sail. While the breeze has headed a few degrees forcing us to sail tighter angles then the A3 prefers, switching to the Code 0 will allow us more versatility in changing wind speed and angles without sacrificing as much boat speed. Now all we need is our luck to follow suit and the breeze to fill in few more knots.
We have also come into a little debate as to whether we start sailing faster angles in an attempt to take back some miles on the leaders, or to sail slightly lower and slower to stay in favourable current. The argument to stay lower also sets us up for a more westerly and narrower crossing of the doldrums. Jules and Ian are still evaluating which will pay off more, but the hope is that the wind will head enough that both options become possible together.
We have 3,000 miles to go and despite a reasonably quick passage so far it is becoming increasingly clear that we will run out of food. This is in no small part due to the fact we cut everything right back to keep the boat light for the downwind sailing. Anyway those problems are a week away. Right now we have to focus on cutting the leaders’ advantage so that we are in touch as they enter the doldrums.
The doldrums don’t look very active but it only takes one cloud to lose a lot of miles. Tonight we will be pushing our luck in tight to the Brazilian coast where it looks like we will have to thread our way through some oil or gas platforms. After a winter of training in Abu Dhabi this is not unknown territory to us. In fact with this wind and warm sunshine we could be in the Arabian Gulf right now! We are certainly a long way from home but can’t wait to get to the good old US of A!
The Volvo Ocean Race is a nine-month, 39,000 nautical mile round-the-world test of sailing prowess and human endeavour. To follow Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and stay up with the all its news, visit www.volvooceanraceabudhabi.com