A game of many parts

The Volvo fleet is well separated with the big battle in the middle

Wednesday January 2nd 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic

djuice takes a pounding

A message from Anthony Nossiter abaord djuice describes the sometimes painful business of sailing a V.O.60 in hard conditions

Hi guys, happy New Year to you all.

The joy of being at sea on New years day far outweighs the joys of being land locked. I know that for myself, and most others here, that if we had the chance to celebrate with you all in the way that most do, today I would have been lying on the bed, sick, with the stress of having to put on a brave face to the family and relatives while everyone tries hard to hide their hangovers.

Last night, New Years Eve, we took on about 10 sail changes in an eight-hour watch. The winds were very shifty and gave us no time for a breather. We did however get to 'countdown' of course, somewhere in the Tasman Sea, but most importantly, on Australian time. I was thinking of just how drunk the mates back home must have been.

We now have three Australians on the boat for this leg, myself (Nock), Ratty [David Blanchfield] and Spike [Peter Doriean]. These are all nicknames of course... no Aussie goes by a real name. Ratty had a bad experience the other day on the bow. We were changing jibs in 30 knots and in a big seas. He was getting plenty of air as the bow flew out the water over each wave. He launched off a mother wave, went under the next one, and got the largest 'weggy' a man has ever had. One leg either side of the forestay and al lot of force into it. The rat did a bit of damage to his 'family jewels' and needed to rest for eight hours. I do hope the poor fella isn't firing 'blanks' after the incident. I hear he wants a tribe of kids in the near future with his lovely misses of Amer Sports Too (the girls Volvo Ocean Race entry in this race), Katie Pettibone.

Ironically enough, when this happened to the rat, I fell off the top ropes (high side of the boat) and landed butt first onto a winch handle. My 100 kg with maximum downward force right were you don't want it. My hide is ok though and when I finish here I'll test it out on the throne to make sure.

I'm really knackered. I just had eight hours on, and I am about to have four off before starting out for the night session. We are going upwind in 30 knots now, getting a little hammered, but the water is warm and we have thoughts of a world in party mode to keep us revved up. When we make it to New Zealand we'll make up for our lack of festivities on board and redeem ourselves in the new year eve party ranks with a 'whopper' of a party on our arrival... win, loose or draw.

We still have a few days to go and looking for an opportunity to present itself to us to pass some boats. We are well separated so it wouldn't take much to get us back up the fleet. For now we'll just have to chip away and take the good with the bad and be ready to jump when the opportunity arises.

Must nap now

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