by Amory Ross
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 1 of Leg 7. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:
Kelvin Harrap drives under growing thunderclouds in typical Gulf Stream conditions capable of generating squalls. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
'Nothing like going upwind in the Gulf Stream,' (slamming into a big swell) Tony Mutter.
There are not many day one’s left between here and Galway. But here we go again, one day closer to the end of this very long race. As we leave Miami for Portugal there are several things that come to mind:
1. Miami departure = awesome. The crowds arrived just in time to see us off, and they included some of the most engaging and interactive spectators we’ve seen to date. While it was always going to be tough to match the enthusiasm of Brazil and New Zealand, Miami’s light arrival attendance and general fanfare left a little to be desired. Fortunately, the numbers spiked this weekend and we left downtown Miami to a raucous send-off amidst a large armada. A huge thank you to all who came out – you did an incredible job closing what has been a really fun few weeks on a high note. All that was missing was a few more knots of wind and a better start on our part!
2. Lisbon. Great city and we’re all really excited to get there! They love sailing and it should be a great place to mark our return to Europe.
3. Who’s actually counting? Some of us :) There are only 18-20 days left at sea on this fine yacht; is it time to cherish or celebrate!? This leg is expected to take 10-13 days, our shortest yet, and it only gets shorter from there. Could we really be that close to finishing? It sometimes feels like this race will last forever, but in reality it will be over soon and with it so too the days of the venerable Volvo 70. We are a lucky few who get to sail the last breed of these crazy creations…
4. Points. There are tons of them out there and it would be an understatement to say that we are sailing to win. It’s doable and we feel confident in our team, our boat, and our chances. We have to. If you had told us that we would be 14 points back from the leader after losing our rig on leg 1 (and subsequent third and fourth-place finishes on the next two legs), we probably would have called you crazy, but that’s where we are and we have a huge opportunity to do something special here.
5. Acclimating to boat life following a stopover is getting easier with each one. Packing food, sorting personal gear (organizing camera equipment)… After six legs of doing it I think everyone is finally comfortable with whatever it is that needs doing before we leave, and it makes the early stages of a leg more relaxed and enjoyable. What used to be a very stressful 12 hours has become more routine than anything else, and I think we all in some ways look forward to leaving the dock, along with the distractions of land-life with it. Once that last line is tossed, it’s us and us alone. Our world gets very small, very quickly.
6. Six boats. Great to see Sanya back out here and the fleet together again for the first time in a few months!
Okay. Off to bed for some much needed rest. One thing is certain after some vacation time in Miami and South Beach: sleeping is not an endorsed activity!
The crew hike out on the rail onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during the start of leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Ryan Godfrey goes aloft to repair a ripped sail soon after leaving Miami. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)
Puma Ocean Racing website
Volvo Ocean Race website