foggy notion

SA Exclusive

Bouwe Bekking laments the pit stop they can’t make on this leg of the VOR…

Going  in the direction of two of my favorite sailing places. Unfortunately we leave the Caribbean to port. It would have been nice to have a pit stop there. Now that Cup is going to take place on a small but exclusive island, maybe St Barth next time an option for the Volvo race? The wife’s will love it and a something very special for corporate guests. But most likely this will never happen. So getting to my other spot, where for sure, knock wood, we will finish this leg. Call me old fashion, but I like places with sailing traditions and all the racing I have done Newport has been excellent.

Coming to this leg. An important leg for everybody: we need a win to keep a chance on the overall and to close the gap to Dongfeng.  The first couple of days we have been trailing, we still struggle upwind, but sticking to the game plan and adequate sail changes slowly moved us up the ladder.  Clouds and squalls have been of big influence , you thought you did alright, then you find out you lost a couple miles. Now finally in the NE trades, having a bit of strange sail combo as we  sail
right in area which really doesn’t fit any of the sails, our so-called no go zone on the sail chart, but for this leg no other option. Ken Campbell did homework for us on this leg and he has been spot on. We see more left breeze as what the grib files say. Actually we are bit surprised that nobody has taken the more eastern route.  We said this time we stick to the fleet, but if you are behind, going east of Bermuda could have been a very good option.

So in a drag race. Lost some very valuable miles due to a big fish on the rudder. We just couldn’t get it off. Two back downs, and a long sail batten did finally the job, most annoying is that it unsettles you for while, but full up and running and doing good 6 hour runs. We most likely will see a re-start close to St Barth (so pit stop next race maybe will be an option:-) )

Looking forward to sail the last 24 hours probably in thick fog. Crazy in a sense, but this race we haven’t had fog at all and it brings always that extra little bit of excitement and interesting to see how each individual crew member is coping with it . Always observing. Looking forward to see Alan Block at the press conferences (or are you banned??) , we haven’t seen him for a while and it is time for some fresh air,  with fun, adequate and sometimes crazy questions! (Clearly, this race is affecting Bouwe’s judgement. – ed)