Volvo Ocean Race: Camper - The turtle and the hare + Video

Camper hits rough weather in the Atlantic, during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal.
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©
Hamish Hooper blogs from on board Camper:

Today is World Turtle day - a couple of times in the past few days when we have been held up it definitely felt like we were the tortoise and all of the other boats the hare in the fabled tortoise and hare race.

Perhaps come to think about it, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, as the tortoise always seemed to win the race…

A couple of the guys coincidentally saw a large turtle floundering in the water only meters from the boat blasting through the water.

It was lucky that Nico and I didn’t have differing views on the way turtles swim for obvious reasons. The gliding (flying) fish episode was too exhausting.

Turtles seem like pretty relaxed creatures, it hasn’t been too relaxing onboard Camper in the last 24 hours, but it was a far more civilized day on deck after the debacle that was Tropical storm ‘Alberto’ yesterday.

With the calmer, more settled conditions all of the guys have finally had time to catch up on some absent sleep since the start in Miami.

Having had time to digest our vanished miles from the other day, I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason for it is that we might have inadvertently disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle for a few hours then emerged behind all but one of the fleet.

It doesn’t seem fair, but all is not fair in life sometimes, and especially not in sailing.



As much as it hurt to lose all of those precious miles, again the guy’s resilience shines through and all are fully focused on reeling in the leading boats. No time to dwell on any negatives we have a long way to go and as the old cliché says, ‘it’s not over until its over.’

As per usual Will and Nico are spending long hours in the nav station patiently scouring weather maps, currents just about anything that could give us an opportunity we regain those miles. All we need is to be given and inch and we will take all 25 miles to get back to the front of the fleet.

A drenched Will Oxley working in the navigation station, onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©
Will did a nice job early in the day sending us through the right side of a significant ‘eddy’ spinning off from the Gulf Stream which all of the other boats were on the opposite side. We made some good gains through there but, nothing significant enough to get around any of the other boats.

Hopefully that time will come.

On a more positive note since the last leg, we have a good supply of toilet paper and tea and coffee, as well as a welcome return to the snack menu of some fresh biltong.

I’m a little suspect, it has that tang of partially rotten meat… but not yet strong enough to put me off eating it. It’s probably just a matter of days.

On a more concerning note, there has been an alarming lack of the miracle ‘Sudacreme’ discovered. As yet it is not too much of an issue, but like the biltong, it’s only a matter of days until it is a major issue.

There is cause for increased awareness of early signs of chafe, rash and tactical underwear change out.

Conversation on deck often revolves around wondering what our injured boat captain Mike is up to now that he has a leg over- ah off. I am sure he will be happy to know that I haven’t overflowed the water maker a single time… yet…

Golden Quote: 'Will Oxley is going bald, and I am going grey- that’s the Volvo Ocean race for you.' Chris Nicholson