Images and Boat Blogs Day 13 Volvo Ocean Race

Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race. PUMA Ocean Racing passes through the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Images and Boat Blogs from Day 13 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 1 to Capetown.
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TEAM RUSSIA LEG ONE DAY 13: received 23.10.08 1557 GMT

Next Stop Latitude 00 00.00

It had to happen and happen it did. Like the monsoon rains bring life and water to a dusty desert we finally broke free of the doldrums. The feeling of relief that spread around the boat was palpable.

I even heard a cowboy 'Yahoo!' and triumphant whistle as Kosatka filled her lungs with new fresh sea air. The sensation of speed was even more refreshing as is was dark with only the stars to light the sky. The new wind now filling our sails, hadn’t told the sea to pucker-up and make waves. On a Volvo 70 any speed comes hand in hand with violent jolts and judders as she powers through and over the liquid hills of the sea. However on this occasion with no waves we were gliding through still calm waters at 15 knots.

This was a real treat; we were like my daughter, Emily with a new set of rollerblades allowed to use them on the smooth kitchen floor indoors. We were off like a butchers dog with a string of stolen sausages.

Now for the catch up, as anyone who likes tomato sauce would say. We had lost a lot of distance to the leaders and we hadn’t got many tactical options left as it’s a straight beat, port tack on the nose to Fernando de Noronha at 193 degrees, sailing an angle of 60 to the wind with 400 nautical miles to sail.

You can see that I have just changed tense from past to the present. That because I’m writing now in the now, healed over, up wind, maximum stack to port and living on the bizarre world of the diagonal. If you are a sailor reading this, there is nothing at all out of the ordinary but if not, you would find it most off putting to have your hole house tipped up on one side at 25 degrees.

Gravity can now have a real giggle on your behalf. Humans are not designed to live on a slope. We would have different length legs if we were. My media station certainly has more fluffy Velcro stuck to it. It’s looking like a cuddly toy rather than a state of the art communication hub.

Enough of this slanty world and on to the next milestone, The Equator! The old boys in Team Russia are making us new boys very uneasy with tails of masking tape waxings and dreadful concoctions of old fish and engine oil. The myth and legend surrounding the induction to King Neptune’s gateway are told in sea shanties and bars from Falmouth to Rushcutters Bay . Guillermo Altadill and Mike Joubert have already racked up twenty-five crossings between just the two of them. So for me, and the other equatorial virgins, Ben Costello, Cameron Wills, Jeremy Elliott and Rodion Luka the next 24hrs will bring a new set of tales to tell under the swinging lantern of how we met the great king of the deep and what he did to us……

Read my next blog, if I can still have fingers to type, to find out how we fared……..

Mark Covell - MCM
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TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG ONE DAY 13 QFB: received 23.10.08 1341 GMT

As I write the first boat has just passed the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. Good work Ian and crew - I think they have sailed a great leg so far, going as west as we probably all should have done but didn't quite have the guts... They stuck by their strategy and have been awarded maximum points. However, with another 3000 miles to go I hope we can catch them - We have every intention of doing so, mile by mile, sched by sched we will slowly try and grind down the boats in front.

The last 24 hours have been good for us. Whilst it would take something major to improve on our placing to the island we have been very encouraged by our speed of late. We have slowly been knocking off miles on the guys in front and leaving the guys behind. The boys on deck are definitely motivated and seem to feed off the good news every three hours. Upstairs it is wet and bumpy as we smash through the waves doing 15+ knots. Downstairs, luckily is pretty dry but still really bumpy! Typing has become a bit of a challenge - every time we launch of a wave I seem to invent a new word as my fingers stumble around the keyboard!

We passed the Equator late last night, but so far we have not seen any sign of the mighty King Neptune. It turns out that he may be a fair weather sailor. However it would seem that plans are afoot and those of the crew who have crossed the line for the very first time shouldn't relax just yet... I am sure the media all are hankering for some photos and video of the action too. Maybe Neptune is having his own fun by keeping them all in suspense!

Cheers,

Si Fi

Simon Fisher - navigator
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PUMA LEG ONE DAY 13 QFB: received 23.10.08 1046 GMT

I'm glad that's over with.

It should have been dubbed 'and now for a break in the action...' The infamous equator crossing and where King Neptune visits the first timers and gives out a little punishment for 'past sins' whatever that may mean. Personally the entire thing has a bit of college hazing to it. Or a bachelors party gone bad without the alcohol.

Why am I so intent then on writing about a ritual that doesn't exactly make much sense to me? Because I was an interested party like it or not. Casey
Smith, Michi Mueller and I were the first timers aboard. And there had been months of speculation on the deeds that would be performed. All in a humorous sort of way, all with a twinkle in the eye of the person expressing the inappropriate deeds.

But, two things happened that were not anticipated. First, the breeze picked up to a rough 20 knot beat with uncomfortable choppy waves. Second, there was a race at hand - as we are still in a complete dog fight with Ericsson 4 who has been slowly edging up to us all day. In fact I think they have been in sight for a majority of this leg so far. These two factors clearly became a major player in the ritual.

We were called on deck and all of a sudden a glimmering Justin Ferris came up with a bucket of who knows what. All the rancid food that he could put together over the last day or two, mixed with my personal favourite and the most disgusting food on earth - Vegemite.

Step one, make sure each of the three of us were wearing enough of it to feel pretty gross. Step two, each of us individually was given a personal gift. Mine was a nice hair gel sort of swipe with Justin's two hands dipped in the vegemite and then oozing through my hair. Very gross! Then to Casey who in essence wore the rest of the rancid food. Not too creative there. And finally to our pony-tailed young crewman Michi. He was simply handed a pair of scissors. I don't think any of the boys had the guts to cut Michi’s hair for fear of retribution. But they gave Michi the chance and he immediately reached back - grabbed the pony tail - and cut off the last inch or so of the long blond locks. All to the huge amusement of the entire team.

The final bit to the scene was played with a French Brandy called (shockingly) Napoleon. A sip was given to Neptune, to each crewmember and two for the boat’s safety. Done. Whew. Pretty painless, except it took me about 10 minutes on the bow getting waves crashed over me with dishwashing liquid in my hair trying to get the Vegemite out. Well I thought I did. Until I tried to sleep last night and all I could do was smell that rancid stuff.

I have a feeling that the smell will be around for a while, either for real or in my mind.

But thank goodness for the wind and the waves and the boats that were near by. I think they all saved us quite a bit of humiliation when it was all said and done.

Kenny Read - skipper

For EDITORIAL USE only, please credit: Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race PUMA Ocean Racing passes through the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha, on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008, it will, for the first time, take in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37

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TELEFÓNICA BLACK LEG ONE DAY 13 QFB: received 23.10.08 1000 GMT

Hi all,

We crossed the Equator yesterday, in a breeze of 20 knots, the only inconvenienc