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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Feeling Ripped Off - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Blog Post By Hamish Hooper
Leg 5 Day 26

I feel like I have been a bit ripped off today. The stories I was told of the solace and the relief of rounding the horn, the almost instant liberation of the clutches of the Southern Ocean. Ha! What a crock of stools.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
The conditions have been worse than we have had in a while bumping banging and crashing. I have had to revert to my ‘red light warning’ intake of seasick pills again, which I think kicked in just in the nick of time.

The heavy thumping the boat has been taking has been giving the repairs the shore guys did a real good workout, and so far all seems good - although rather a treacherous mission to go and check. Nico played it safe and wore his helmet to go forward to check up there it is moving so violently.

Luckily the bow and repairs are all in good shape.

As always though, you must find the good in the bad, a silver lining to a dark cloud, and that is we are going fast in a relative northerly direction.

We have not long past the Falkland Islands, which going by the weather and conditions down here perplexes me why the British waged such an aggressive war with the Argentinians for them in 1982,

But I guess when you think about it, the weather isn’t too dissimilar to what it would be at home in the UK so the Brits probably love it. I wonder when Easy Jet will start offering £10.99 flights excluding checked baggage and priority boarding unless you have children or dependents less than 10 years of age? There’s a silver lining for you sailing these crazy boats around the world - you don’t have to fly!

They obviously have good fish down this way as we just passed a massive fleet of fishing vessels, which lit up the radar screen like an air traffic controller at Heathrow.

I think they were either obliterating the fish in the small patch of ocean - or were sitting waiting so as not to be obliterated themselves by the massive low which is currently blasting through Cape Horn at up to 70 knots. It is this low, which we are on the out skirts of, so going by conditions on deck today I am elated we are no closer to the epicentre of it.

Each of the guys would get out of their bunks to get ready for their watches and glance out of the hatch with pensive apprehension. I guess they were feeling a bit like me, having mentally left the harsh cold conditions of the Southern Ocean behind last night, but having to continue dealing with them today.

An email came from Brazil today saying make the most of the cold because we will be sweating like a. …runner … when we get to Itajaí. I’m not sure how to make the most of the cold… spend more time in my sleeping bag I reckon.

“We got around the Horn in good shape then got a bit of a touch up between there and The Falklands. Pretty hard on the boat, almost similar to when we left Auckland, so a good test for all of the new structure in the boat, and everything looks all good,” Skipper Chris Nicholson said.

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