illbruck away againDEVASTATING! djuice skipper Knut Frostad reports from the back of the Volvo fleet
Hard to find words describing the frustration we feel right now. All the information we had, told us to not be too far west, until last night when hell broke loose. We sailed along nicely in 12 knots of wind. For a while we had been playing the squalls, making sure we passed them to leeward with maximum wind, and avoiding ending up in the centre in no wind.
Quite suddenly, there are squalls almost everywhere on the radar screen. It's obvious that we can't avoid them all, but at least try to run low when we have wind. It gets dark. Very dark. A huge one is developing on top of us, and starts to dump water and no wind on us.
The boat stops suddenly. Sails start flapping. The crew runs around frustrated, shifting the sails down below to leeward. The guys off watch wake up and help moving all the weight forward and to leeward. We change headsails quickly to the drifters, and still we are barely moving. Hopefully the wind comes back soon...we are now reading 0.00 knots of boat speed ("three eggs").
I hate it! I hate this more than anything in the world! The only thing I know then, is, that for sure, someone else is moving. For some reason the wind doesn't come back at all for two very long hours, and when it did came back it was with only four to five knots as far as we could see and drizzling rain.
No, no, no. Can't eat, can't drink, can't sleep!!! It's just too frustrating! Why us? Why now? We should have seen this? With Jean Yves I run through the last satellite pictures again. The newest one shows a huge cloud all over the whole fleet. You wouldn't be able to say that we where the only one parked in there. Now I can say that it probably moved in from the east as it developed and therefore hit us first and probably at a worse time of the day (night) than when it hit the boat further west, but still, that we parked up badly, and no one else did? This sport can be so incredibly frustrating at times.
I learn a lot about myself right now, and especially about how to control myself and not lose focus. Pretty hard sometimes! First you spin around the boat pushing the guys to move a loose t-shirt from leeward to weather bunk as we have to do everything we can to gain every single inch on the water. The next moment you are faced with ten pair of eyes, staring at you, wondering why we lost 30 miles to most of the boats and no one else ended up in no wind.........
The only thing I can do is to focus on whatever positive points are left, and there are a few: There are almost 3.500 nautical miles left to go, to make gains and go for opportunities that may arise, News Corp and Amer Sports One have lost almost as much as us, so we are not completely alone (although we are all to the east of the fleet, which obviously has been wrong...).
Right now we have 14 knots of wind, and the leaders reported six and seven knots! We are all in good shape and with fighting spirit intact, we even managed to have a good laugh when Nocka [Anthony Nossiter], Dave [Jarvis] and Herve [Cunningham] met King Neptune and his uncle Flyfish this afternoon...
"We might be a bit bruised right now, but far from beaten, in fact we might be even stronger....!"
All the best
Knut and crew on djuice
Dartcom satellite image showing 'the cloud'