Volvo Ocean Race - Puma hangs on to small lead

Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 16 of Leg 6. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:

'Welcome to the Volvo 70. Capable of 550 miles a day, or 20,' Rome Kirby.

There was very little about yesterday that was easy, except maybe the sunburn. As forecasted, the winds quickly perished after sunrise making life more difficult than not, and we spent almost all day drifting around a small chain of Bahamian islands under the spell of high pressure. Complete and utter driftoff, zero point zero knots of wind, and three donuts on the instrument. At one point the current was carrying us towards a reef we couldn’t avoid, but thankfully anchoring wasn’t necessary and we instead went for a swim. Hot, hot, hot… who’s idea was it to make a black boat with a black deck and black sails, anyway!?

The good news: our wind returned – slowly – and we’ve managed to make an escape, barely hanging on to a small but meaningful 10-mile lead over Camper in the race to the Eleuthera waypoint. It’s hard to know whether we’ve seen the worst though as weather systems like this can evolve quickly. According to Tom, so far so good, but we’re not out of the woods just yet. We’ll gradually lift around to the north until we gybe onto port and lay the northern tip of the island. From there it’s through the Gulf Stream and across to the finish line, hopefully as first horse back to the stable.

But the winds are still light and variable and the potential for big losses to trailing boats still exist; they likely will until the end. With just 350 miles to go it would be easy to overlook the remaining distance, but nobody seems to be making that mistake. The proper mindset, and one we’re all emphasizing, is that each mile is just as important as the next. Don’t look too far beyond the horizon because this race is far from over!

Rome Kirby trimming the Code 0 to leeward with Kelvin Harrap on the helm. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website