Green Dragon Leg One Day 3 QFB: received 13.10.08 1146 GMT
"We have finally escaped the Med despite being parked for hours off Gibraltar. This was frustrating as we had built up good leads over Puma and Telefónica Black but they were able to sail right up to us in the dying breeze.
We seem to be struggling for speed relative to others when the wind shuts down. As of this morning the top 5 boats could all see each other as we gybed on the shifts heading South down the African coast. We can no longer see Ericsson 4 but Ericsson 3 is just ahead as are Puma and Tel Black.
Everybody is being very cagey covering every move or sail change. Puma and Telefónica Black seem to be very fast downwind in the light and they have consistently sailed away from us. We will have to be patient and hope our turn comes. Everybody on board is well rested now despite lots of frantic tacking and gybing and all the associated ’stacking’ of gear and sails in the Med.
Sometimes it feels more like we work for a removals company than a sailing team as we spend large amounts of time carting gear from one side of the boat to another - at least it will get easier as we use up the supplies!
Life onboard is pretty pleasant with light winds and no water on deck. We are carrying out a few minor running repairs and checking the boat over. It appears that Justin (Justin Slattery/IRL) and Animal (Andrew Mclean/NZL) have fixed the J4 halyard problem and we have got to the bottom of the keel issue that bugged us at the start.
The only other thing of note was a stowaway passenger we had which was a robin (red breast) that flew into the boat and has been living in the galley. This was amusing for a few hours but we have now lost him and nobody saw him leave. The last sighting was of him flying aft towards the nav station. Hopefully he flew away for all our sakes".
Ian Walker - skipper
Delta Lloyd Leg One Day 3 QFB: received 13.10.08 at 1257
Posted: 13 Oct 2008 10:10 AM CDT
"We have mixed emotions in leaving family behind on this great race I have been fascinated by all my sailing life. As I looked around on the dock I could see many wife and 3 kids, family, friends I realise (not always realised while in the rat race) what they mean to me.
As I see fellow sailors / friends on competitor boats that just at that point in time, did not feel like competitors but more like friends and we wish each other safe passage and a beer or two in Cape Town.
We decided to be conservative on the start with a 27 to 30 knot start beating 2 miles to weather mark. We are happy with our upwind performance between some of the other fleet; she’s still fast reaching and running also. What a great blast out of Alicante some way to start this 37,000 mile race Volvo Ocean Race.
Now that we are settled into the daily pattern of watch systems, life aboard is settling into a nice boat work-eat-sleep rhythm. Choosing the fastest route (not always easy) given the confused pressure system caused us to sail into a hole where we had big losses on the fleet. Hindsight is worth a mention here as we did not stick to our game plan to sail close to the shore where there was better pressure. This lost us 47 miles to get out through the Gibraltar Straights.
Many sail changes taking lots of energy, sailing the boat as fast as possible. All this practice of sail changes we are getting faster, getting better used to sail crossovers, more confident by the day in the boat and our ability as a crew for the challenge ahead. Now at sea we can progress to take on the big budget teams on the equal terms small bits at a time as it’s a long leg.
This first leg is 6,500nm so we will have lots off opportunity to pull this and more mileage to win leg to Cape Town. Be assured we are pushing hard.
Boat daily chores like water making sound simple issues that can take an hour and a half to make 25 litres, used for drinking and cooking only its time consuming. We try to run over lapped with charging to conserve power. Freeze dried is going down well (I have to confess I do miss my spuds),
All the crew is in good spirits, getting into swing, incl. our new big brother media crew member getting into his editing stride to help make this the great race it is".
Regards Ger O’Rourke - skipper