Puma's Amory Ross: Galley strap

Puma's Amory Ross: Galley strap

Tuesday March 6 2012 Author: Amory Ross Location: none selected

Location: 100 miles W of New Caladonia
Boat speed: 14.6
Windspeed: 14
Heading: 181-degrees
Sails: Big jib, staysail, full main
DTF: 1200 miles

We have a strap that we tie from one end of the galley entrance to the other. It’s a preventer so that when upwind sailing is at it’s worst and you’re tucked inside cooking on the high side, you don’t risk losing your grip on the boat and falling all the way to leeward. It’s an important piece of equipment, but one I hate seeing in use; it usually comes with a great deal of discomfort. It’s like a status, like a Code Red or a Defcon 4. The preventer’s in place, life will suck for the next period of undetermined time and your body will hurt today.

Fortunately, it’s only been about four hours since I put that strap in place, and it’s probably time to take it off. The awful upwind conditions – a surprise to us all – are coming to an end as our proximity to New Caledonia has helped ease the large swell and rough sea state at blame. The island’s “lee-fect” (yes, I just made that up) also impacts our wind, which has dropped considerably, too.

Besides being the final significant landmass on our charts until New Zealand, New Caledonia is also proving to be a valuable point of relative reference. Going to the east of the island never really proved a viable option, so all six boats have used it’s northwestern corner as a loose waypoint, and it’s done well to bring the east and the west back together again for the first time in weeks. We haven’t seen another boat since the East China Sea, but that may change soon. Telefónica and Camper have done fine getting out of their low road and this is going to be a very close race south, especially when and if things slow up as expected during the approach to Auckland. Now comfortable leads could disappear and there could be plenty of passing lanes and park-ups.

It would be a shame to sail all this way and have the prospects of that hard work hinge on a few days of light air lingering near the finish, but that’s part of racing, whether ‘round the buoys or the world, and we’re all preparing for it!

- Amory
 

Coffee fiend Kelvin Harrap rinsing what's left in his mug before a likely mid-watch refill. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

The most primitive piece of sailing technology onboard: the compass. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

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