Simple Sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race towards Miami

Living at sea can be a lot of fun and the remoteness that it demands can be rewarding, but the days after leaving shore are often filled with frustrating withdrawal from connectivity. Take, for example, hockey. The New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins both faced playoff extermination in their respective series, but both just won decisive Game 6’s to stay alive and force do-or-die Game 7’s. To be out here, unable to watch, listen, or even check scores is agonizing, though it’s something we all eventually acclimatize to. Blackberrys, iPhones, and the world wide web are switched off until we get to Miami.

Our only link to the outside world once we leave the dock is the communications computer in the nav station, and its outreach is limited to email. Even email is screened and monitored by a Volvo Ocean Race team of Duty Officers to make sure that no outside assistance or sensitive information makes its way on (or off) the boats. So we’re forced to live through a small number of words for weeks at a time, and in the case of sports updates – we put our considerable faith in a few good patrons who don’t realize how enviable their position in front of a TV or a computer really is. But that is Mar Mostro life, and slowly but surely we again come to appreciate “unplugging,” and our focus turns instead to sailing, scheds, weather, and sleep.
And the sailing has been simple. There have been no tacks since leaving Itajaí, and with the exception of a few sail changes, the hardest work has been the constant shifting of weight forward or aft to optimize for the ever-changing wind speeds. The fleet is more or less lined up bow to bow now, and we’re patiently waiting for the next frontal system to decide who gets the quickest passage east through these lighter conditions. Is it the northern two, the southern two, or us in-between? We should find out in the next day or two, and the boat(s) that get east first should be able to extend north in fresher conditions offshore.

By: Amory Ross, MCM, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG
LOCATION: 130-miles SE of Rio de Janeiro WINDSPEED: 6.7 knots BOATSPEED:  6.3 knots HEADING: 059-degrees DISTANCE TO EQUATOR: 1,650 miles

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