At sea. Volvo Ocean Race: Hard nights work changing headsails for Ericsson Racing Team Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 April 2006
Ericsson Racing Team:

Like so often in this race, the contrast from one day to the next can be amazing, we had been enjoying some of the most pleasant sailing conditions that any of us have ever experienced, doing twenty knots in the sunshine without getting wet!

Last night brought a new set of conditions though as we started jib reaching in 20-25 knots in a lumpy sea state. We had two very difficult sail changes to do in the night which always means a tired group of guys come the next day.

An inline change, from one reaching headsail to another involves a lot of physical effort and plenty of discomfort. It takes five guys just to grind the halyard up on the new sail and as many as you can muster on the foredeck to get the old one down. The motion on the bow is always worse than anywhere else and the faster the boats the harder the impact with the waves.

It takes everyone working together and an intense few minutes of effort to get the thing safely on the deck which is the most important part. You still have to drag the 200m2 sail back aft and pack it properly which is a job in itself, all while being hit hard by every wave sweeping up the deck and undoing your last few minutes work.

A difficult change can take an hour to execute and tidy up and it’s in the middle of someone’s off watch. Having done two last night you can clearly see some tired faces this morning although the sun is out again and will re-energise us for the next section. A high pressure ridge will bring lighter winds today before we take on a proper Atlantic weather system which will produce some more fast but very bumpy conditions.

We are working very hard and remain focused on the boats in front whilst keeping a careful eye on those behind us.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 April 2006 )
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