Reminder: Still Vulnerable on the Corner

  • Media Crew Member
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Leg 4, Day 9 blog from Amory

LOCATION: 1,000-miles WNW of Wake Island
BOATSPEED: 15 KTS
WINDSPEED: 18 KTS
HEADING: 130-degrees
SAILS: C0 (code-zero), full main
WEATHER: Sunny, warm

Yesterday’s sunrise brought strong winds and positive results, but today’s brought light winds and negative ones. After two days of consecutive gains, it was a stinging reminder that we are very vulnerable out here on the corner, and that there is still a very, very long way to go to New Zealand.

It was tough sailing for a few hours this morning with all sails flapping in the wind and nothing to push them (or us) anywhere. And when you go to all-stop like that, from sailing in 16 knots of wind to drifting in 4, you move almost everything in the boat. All of the sails on deck go from the back of the boat to the bow. All food, personal bags, spares, pelican cases, and anything else lying around below also go forward. Even my sleeping bunk un-fastens and moves forward.

All of that moving gear helps refine the fore and aft trim of the boat for a particular condition that is based on wind strength, point of sail, and sea state. Light air upwind sailing (this morning), you want the slim-profiled bow touching down and as little of the wide Mar Mostro butt touching the water as possible. High speed downwind sailing (last night), where the boat can plane, calls for all the weight aft so that the bow stays up and doesn’t burrow through waves, and so that the weight is outboard and back to take advantage of a Volvo 70’s powerful beam. Those are two extremes, but there are many in-between trims, too. Like a pilot on the yoke, it’s a constant adjustment of onboard weight while under way to find the right balance of fore and aft trim.

So to a rising sun we moved the boat’s contents forward and could do nothing but watch the computer screen confirm that the rest of the fleet was still averaging 10+ knots. Not fun. Fortunately, we’ve stopped the bleeding and are back up to speed in a nice 15-knot northerly.

We will live another day…but not before returning everything to the back of the boat!

- Amory

Amory Ross

Media Crew Member

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