Home at last
They were treated to a raucous welcome onshore as their arrival happened to coincide with the inauguration of the race village in Cochin. Thousands turned out to cheer the eighth place finisher.
Team Russia skipper Andreas Hanakamp was in good spirits as the boat pulled alongside the pontoon, and philosophical about their leg: “It's been up and down. It was our conditions in the Southern Ocean and we felt really comfortable there, we had a lot of fun and kept pushing hard. The first transition zone I don't think we got it perfect and then we had this meeting where we decided to go to the east, which made a lot of sense at the time, so we sacrificed 100 miles there in the hope we'd gain a couple of hundred miles, but...well, you know what happened. We risked, we went for it, and it didn't work - that’s sailing.”
The team principal and bowman, Oleg Zherebtsov, had his first taste of the Volvo Ocean Race on this leg to Cochin and was in very good form as he stepped off the boat.
“I'm happy, happy, happy! It's a very extreme feeling,” he said. “I can't really describe it, we've been in such different conditions from the Southern Ocean with the cold and wind to the hot, +30°C and the Doldrums, no wind, and before that wind up to 40 knots and the Chinese gybe and then catching the fishing net...It's such a powerful experience and after three weeks on the water to see all these people, it’s really amazing.”
Team Russia was slow out of Cape Town, but was soon back in the thick of things. Then, the team suffered their first real heavy-air broach on day four of the 19-day leg, but luckily did no damage to the boat. Hanakamp said yesterday that the boat is in remarkably good order thanks to the solid construction by Green Marine in Lymington, UK.
They made a good showing at the scoring gate, crossing in fourth place to earn 2.5 points, but it was when the team made the calculated decision to head east around the Doldrums that things started to go wrong. Out on the eastern flank of the fleet, the Kosatka crew had opted to sail a longer route with the promise of more wind, which did not materialise, leaving them wallowing in the calms, while the rest of the crews were reaching in the tradewinds towards Cochin.
As a final insult, the team became entangled in an unlit fishing net on Monday night, which required them to lower the sails and stop the boat for upwards of two hours as the crew set about freeing themselves. But despite the setbacks, morale onboard remained good and spirits high as the team approached the finish.
Leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race, 1950 nm from Cochin to Singapore starts on Saturday 13 December at 1400 local time (0830 GMT).