Hamish Hooper blogs from on board CAMPER…
It has been all eyes on our competitors Telefonica and Puma for the last 24 hours.
We have been stalking Puma all day and night, gaining a mile here, losing a mile there.
Gaining gauge on the black boat, then them clawing it back.
A side bonus was we managed to lose sight of Telefonica over the horizon- the one off the stern for a change. As good as it was you know they will just be lurking back there set to come powering back when conditions favour them slightly more.
There is definitely a feeling of the hunter being hunted. But our sights remain firmly on the leaders Puma, so the round the clock 24-hour surveillance continues.
Now we have passed the eastern corner of Brazil and have begun the slow turn northwest. Puma seem to favour a slightly more inshore approach to us preferring to sail a few miles further out to sea in the hope of a little more breeze. Unfortunately in the 0100 sked we lost a few hard miles to them and a couple to Telefonica also.
The guys have been saying it from the beginning that leg will be all about subtleties and inches, so far this it proving 100% correct.
We are now around 3 degrees south cruising pleasantly downwind towards the equator at over 15 knots. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago I was around here heading south having my eye brows shaved off and rotten fish and days old freeze dry muck smeared all over me.
Oh such good memories… Amazingly this will be my 4th equator crossing already.
With our ‘northing’ over night the heat has gone up another couple of notches and cooking with gas burners in the galley has again become like a 45 minute session in sauna, the water tank seems to be continually running low, and the all too familiar stench of putrid body odour has returned.
Absurdly this all makes you think fondly of the cold in the Southern Ocean for some stupid reason.
The coolest part on the boat is on deck in the afternoon with the massive A3 spinnaker shading everyone from the hot sun. Although at one slight moment there was a spit of rain which a few of the guys got very excited about, it ended up being more like a fine cooing spritz than any worth while amount of washing water, it bought a few smiles anyway so not totally fruitless.
A good part of conversation when it allows is moving towards what each of us wants to buy in when we get to the US of A. There have been some interesting and exciting suggestions. Its not often you hear a group of grown men talk about shopping, but when the last time any of us had a spare minute to so much as pull our wallet out was the other side of the world in China you would expect even buying a can of Dr Pepper to be quite the buzz. My first purchase is going to be an Abraham Lincoln beard- in fact maybe I wont even have to buy one, just have half a shave….
GOLDEN QUOTE: “Finally we have reached the top of Brazil, it is a seriously big country. The Bahamas lie 3000 miles ahead. It looks like mostly downwind sailing all of the way, which is quite a change for the race, first though we have an ITCZ to deal with. The trades are looking quite disrupted for the last part of the leg and some ‘interesting’ routing options are popping up. Normally you reject these out of hand, but based on our experience so far in this Volvo ocean race- every option remains on the table.” WILL OXLEY