Who will be last?

It's slow going for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet

Friday March 15th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic
From SEB Gareth Cooke tells of a sticky mess

Despite light winds and almost unbearable heat, today has been a good day for us and we have managed to pass on the wooden spoon (an award for the last place getter) to some other poor souls who will carry it until they can relieve themselves of the last place position. Hopefully we have done our work carrying the wooden spoon and we would be disappointed if we had to carry it any further to Miami.

We have spent the day within sight of the two Amer Sports boats and djuice. Up until now, rain-clouds have been our constant enemy and have allowed boats to slip away from each other as one becomes trapped in the windless void behind each cloud, while the other sails away in the breeze generated on the front edge of the cloud.

Apart from trailing the fleet for the last few days our biggest problem onboard SEB has been the heat melting our chocolate rations. Despite finding the coolest place on the boat to be practically stored the intense heat during the day turns our chocolate into a sticky mess.

With little air flow through the interior, five or six sweaty bodies as well as generator and cooking heat, down below is like a sauna during daytime hours. Sleep is almost impossible and many hours are spent studying the ballast tanks, underside of the deck, and various fittings around the bunks while attempting to sleep.

When sleep finally does come, some of the guys are rewarded with bizarre dreams that become cause for great conversation at the beginning of each watch. Some of the better ones so far are flying crabs plucking fish out of the sea, crew members developing super powers and our youngest crew member Scott Beavis dating his watch captain's wife.

Tomorrow should see us begin to angle slightly west as we edge closer to the equator and an appearance before Neptune's court for Anthony (Wombat) Merrington. Good luck Wombat, I think they are going to nail you mate. Did I say that out aloud?

Page four.... Bouwe Bekking reports from Amer Spots One

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