Ian Walker on the VOR: Wet and wild

Ian Walker on the VOR: Wet and wild

Thursday March 1 2012 Author: Ian Walker ADOR Location: none selected

We are now about halfway into our drag race across the trade winds and the wind has been starting to abate. It’s not that it has been particularly windy - perhaps averaging 22 knots, but we have been sailing at 90 degrees to the wind which is fast and the exact angle to propel all the water straight over the deck and whoever is standing in its way.

The toll is starting to add up both in minor impact injuries to crew (ribs, legs etc) and minor breakages to the boat. Our most major breakage yesterday was the jib tack ram which snapped clean in half. Fortunately we had a safety line in place to save the jib and Justin and Bubs have been able to rig up a jury system that seems to be holding so far. The whole event cost us about 10 miles. Otherwise most of the issues are minor but very annoying. The toilet blocked last night - not a nice job for two people bouncing around in there.

All but three drinks bottles have washed away and some minor but persistent leaks have led to a minor electrical fire (Nick's lap top charger) and some less than desirable conditions below. Jules and my shared bunk has two nice water features over it. One drips on your head every 30 seconds and the other builds up a nice pool of water that is tipped onto you at waist height every time the boat over heels! It's a good job it is warm and the sleeping bags are made of GoreTex.

None of this can prepare you for the conditions on deck however and harness lines have been mandatory for a couple of days. It is hard to move around and real care must be taken when moving from the hatch to the 'safe zone' in the back windward corner. In the racing we have been going well, gaining miles on our nearest boats, but it will get harder from here on as we will lose the benefit of more lifted wind in the east. It feels great to be right in the mix and it also feels good to see the estimated time of arraival coming forward all the time to Auckland thanks to some potentially favourable weather. In summary Azzam is slightly bruised but still charging along well.

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