Puma's Amory Ross: Respect the Southern Ocean

Puma's Amory Ross: Respect the Southern Ocean

Monday March 19 2012 Author: Amory Ross Location: none selected

It feels like I was just here on this laptop writing one of these reports, like Auckland was one more vivid dream, the result of another long day’s exhaustive efforts. The familiarity with the schedule, the boat, the struggles, they now seem so standard that it’s hard to believe we actually got off somewhere. But it’s true: New Zealand did happen, and after just a few days rest we were hardly more refreshed when we left then we were when we arrived.

But even in it’s briefness, it was a stopover well worth the trip. The massive welcome, the gigantic sendoff, and everything in between, it far exceeded expectations. I had heard so much about “En-Zed,” so many good things about the people, the islands, and their passion for sailing, and it was all correct. The only problem I have is that we didn’t get to stay longer! So thank you Auckland, I look forward to returning one day soon.

Nonetheless, we are excited for Leg 5 and what lies ahead. The fleet is suffering a pretty heavy beating here in the early going, but it was expected and we were mentally prepared for the pasting (physically, not so much…). Fortunately, it is easy to get motivated for the Southern Ocean, Cape Horn, and hopeful continued momentum.

From the onset it’s obvious this is a “different” leg. It is a step up for sure, and we spent a lot of time talking about the seriousness of our destination. The Southern Ocean is a place of awesome power and beautiful isolation, but potential dangers too. I felt nervous for the first time this race while standing on the dock before leaving. We will be pushing a fast boat 100% day and night through the world’s coldest ocean. But, it was being nervous in a good way – the kind that makes you appreciate what you’re doing, realize how lucky you are to do it, and respect the way it’s done.

The guys say the Southern Ocean is life-changing, and while I don’t yet know what that means, I’m anxious to find out for myself.

- Amory

MIchi Mueller hikes PUMA's Mar Mostro flat on the approach to Coromandal on the first day of Leg 5 racing. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

A wet sail change in big waves. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

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