Volvo Ocean Race - Bleak onboard Puma's Mar Mostro

Life on deck can be pretty bleak - cold, wet, and dark - in the Southern Ocean. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 10 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:

'I’m frozen as a brick,' Rome Kirby.

Roaring Forties, check. Furious Fifties, check. Screaming Sixties? Ohhhhh so close! We got as far as latitude 59, just one degree shy of 60 South, but we are finally on our way back north after making the first jibe in weeks. Our new heading takes us to the northwest towards Cape Horn, and the elusive miles until our rounding should start diminishing rapidly. No sooner, too, because it’s still cold and getting colder (recurring blog theme?)…

It never ceases to amaze me, the acclimatization process on these boats. After spending so much time on starboard tack the body becomes comfortable living that way, 28-degrees of heel, right shoulder outboard when you sleep, right foot higher than the left when walking forward, and vice versa when walking aft. You have your memorized handholds and foot braces, and your mind and body are generally used to the boat being that way; you know where things are and you subconsciously move with confidence.

But when that life changes, as it does after a tack or a gybe, it’s like learning to walk all over again. Everything is suddenly the opposite as you remember it, and you find yourself reaching for things that are no longer there. It’s a struggle to get your bearings, especially when blasting down waves at 32 knots, in the dark, as we are right now. Fun!

Groupama is still 30-to-50 miles ahead, depending on the sched and swing of momentum, and it looks like it will be a fun drag race to the Horn, at which point things might get interesting for the approach to Brazil. But we’re still here living the Southern Ocean life, one day at a time, and until we’re free of the heavy weather that will remain priority numero uno.

The hatchway flap is down, keeping heat (and humidity) in, but making life down below dark 24/7. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website