Volvo Ocean Race - Puma prepare for final high pressure hurdle

Michi Müller (close) and Shannon Falcone (far), both PUMA veterans from the last race, find ample time to relax on the foredeck in the calm conditions. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 15 of Leg 6. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress:

There’s very little we have in common with the average working member of society. We have no desk, we have no morning commute, there are no sick days, and there are certainly no weekends. But one thing we have in common this week is a shared fear of Monday. You’re terrified of Monday – and today is Monday – but we too have been looking at this Monday on the calendar, dreading its arrival. On this Monday our beloved winds will likely leave us one final time, gradually over the course of the day’s passing.

The complete easing of our breeze should begin this morning, and because we’re the furthest west it will impact us first, again opening the door for Camper and Telefónica to eat into our lead from their trailing positions. Tom is saying tonight could be a full on drift-off, and while this leg has been full of back-to-front compression scenarios, this one is just a few days from the finish line and that makes it that much more dangerous.

Our saving grace is that – unlike previous compressions – the attacking boats will be geographically restricted by the islands, and at some point they will be forced to sail into the same waters and winds as us. Passing lanes and open-ocean leverage that could allow for dramatic lead changes will be much harder to find as our course to the turning mark at Eleuthera is a relatively straight one. While it does nothing to change the fact that we’ll eventually be without wind, it does comfort us to know that it’s a fate the others will likely suffer too.

So Monday it is, and it’s going to be a big one. In all likeliness the boat that best handles this final high pressure hurdle gets the jump on the short sprint to Miami, a jump that could quickly prove insurmountable. Time is running short and the remaining mileage is low, so we’ll be sure to shake off the easy-sailing casualness for the final stages of a leg home to America we very much want to win!

Ryan Godfrey (far) and Tom Addis (close) relax to leeward in calm sailing conditions. 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)

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