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Update from the Volvo Ocean Race

Tuesday April 16th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
The inimitable Stig Westergaard reports from on board djuice .
When things go right, one says 'we' and when things go wrong one says 'I'. And boy do I have a big 'I' on my shoulders. For the first five legs we have made absolutely smashing starts. Just like we wanted them to be. But for this one, Jesus...

What a pathetic start it was. I was behind it, being the helmsman out of the start. Basically everything went the wrong way. Didn't take notice of our starting area getting cramped with our competitors. Got us too close to the line without leaving room to bail out. And the result was a premature start. We weren't alone above the line, only the girls and Assa Abloy started correctly. But we were late realising that we were over. On top of that, we might have fouled one of the other boats. We possibly could have gotten out of it, but didn't dare to chance it, so we did a 720 penalty turn after the last gate. A true example of how not to do it.

So this time, don't look over my shoulders for guidance for the nice start. Actually, I feel quite responsible for getting the foot out of the bed wrongly. But next time I will show you guys.

On top of the pitiful start, we played the Gulf Stream badly, and never got the best of it. Tyco and News Corp were almost as late as us out of the start, and they got themselves placed better and gained almost 10 miles on us. Right now we have SEB and Tyco close to leeward of us, so we have gained a bit back. In this light wind you should never say never.

The girls are on a flyer and went straight for the mark, forgetting about the current. It might pay off. Keep a close eye on them.

So, in all, sailing wise we are not content.... but we have another 48 hours to gain some back.

On board our vessel we have HC, which is the nickname of our Norwegian 13th guy. He is a talk show host (and media man onboard), somewhat like David
Letterman, only a little younger. In Norwegian HC is pronounced Jose, so this is what we call him. He could hardly be mistaken for a Jose though, as he is as white as unused linen. And has red hair and beard. How many Joses do you know with red hair and white skin. He is struggling a wee bit with motion sickness. Maybe that is why he at times has this white glare to him. We haven’t told him that his is a sledge ride, smooth as a baby's bum.

But he is doing fine, and his mere presence has at least one positive effect. Our dialogue has become quite a bit more mundane and sophisticated. Gone are the usual topics of beverage and boobies. Maybe because we don’t want anything on the record. Just imagine what Jose could do with the info. But then again, maybe we should get a round of confessions going. It normally helps a bit on the temper, of at present somewhat moody gods.

All the best

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