Puma's Amory Ross on the VOR: Post-dismasting

Puma's Amory Ross on the VOR: Post-dismasting

Tuesday November 22 2011 Author: Amory Ross Location: none selected

They say it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.

It’s taken a night’s sleep and a shockingly awkward awakening this morning to realize what happened has, in fact, happened. Our race took a pretty obvious turn for the worse yesterday, and it’s certainly not something that anyone saw coming. We are all hurting in our own ways, but I am happy to report that the mood onboard is really, really good. Lots of smiles and plenty of laughs.

I remember the moment precisely: I’d just come down and put away my gear to grab lunch – the last of it in the pot. I sat down next to Rome on the high side floor. A few minutes later came a noise like I have never, ever, heard before. You know the sound a tree falling in your back yard makes? Take that, make it twice as loud and twice as quick, and put it directly overhead. The boat violently rolled to weather and I found myself on my back, feet in the air, food bowl still in hand. It was quickly dark inside the boat and someone yelled “RIG DOWN” through the hatchway. I looked up and out and all I could see was the main. Case closed, mast down.

So where do we stand? Emotionally, quite well. Everyone’s safe and healthy and that’s the most important thing. We’re all pretty well bummed, but we’re a team and you find ways to forget about that for the time being and make the most of the present situation. We were excited and prepared to race Telefónica to the end, but this race has taken a different form for us now and we’re doing the best we can to get PUMA’s Mar Mostro back to Cape Town as quickly as possible.

Personally, I was really looking forward to completing my first leg of a Volvo Ocean Race. I was also eager to arrive at Cape Town under sail and see Table Mountain for the first time – a lifetime experience that I have heard about a million times by now. We all have similar wants that will have to go on temporary hold.

So here we are, 2,000+ miles away, doing 5.9 knots under jury rig and low RPMs, motor sailing towards some distant and remote island called Tristan da Cuhna, 650 miles closer. There’s a good chance a nearby ship will be coming to drop off an additional 500 liters of fuel to ensure our safe passage, but then we’re on our merry way again.

It’s not ideal but at least now it’s an adventure!
 

Life onboard has taken a new direction down below. PUMA is dismasted in the South Atlantic. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) 

Rome Kirby driving towards the small island of Trstan in the South Atlantic. PUMA is dismasted in the South Atlantic. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

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