Repetition – that’s the one word we can use to describe our leg so far. Here we are, smashing along on starboard tack, upwind, in the same breeze, the same waves, and the same sails that we’ve had since we first tacked north a few days ago (and it was the same thing front-chasing east). Man, is it repetitive! But the boat is going well, and we’re enjoying one heckuva straight-line drag race to the doldrums, which is where things start to change quickly.
We slow down, maybe even stop, and while we’re plotting our course out of there with an aim to win this leg, others will be closely watching the waters to our west, towards a sea ruled by modern day pirates. These are pirates we don’t like to talk about, or dress up as on Halloween, but they are real and it’s an issue worth noting, and carefully. But really, is there anything we can do about them?
Before leaving Alicante in November, all of the sailors were briefed in pirate training. Detection avoidance, encounter prevention, what to do if approached, boarded…everything was covered. Our philosophy onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro is a simple one: be smart, be aware, keep the boat moving, and stay away from areas of high risk. Beyond that, we’re in a sailboat and we have to accept that in certain conditions we can’t move. We have enormous trust in the Volvo Ocean Race’s precautionary exclusion zones and we can’t sail this leg afraid. Simple as that. It is a yacht race first and foremost, and we will sail to win, of course.
This team was well aware of the risks involved and we wouldn’t have left the dock in Cape Town without first agreeing to them. But it doesn’t mean we can’t apply what we’ve learned should any kind of situation present itself; it’s an education we’re all fortunate to have.
In the meantime, back to doing things the same way again! 1,000 miles of fast sameness between here and there.
Media Crew Member
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