11:30 CET-Motoring down the Mass River to the start.

The crowd was huge this morning at the departure ceremony. One thing is clear from our four days here, Holland is definitely into sailing and the Volvo Ocean Race.

The fleet paraded down the Maas River, accompanied by hundreds of spectator craft. The 22 miles of shore line was populated with thousands of cheering fans. We wore our arms out waving for 2 hours straight. The enthusiasm was great to see.

Today’s forecast for the race is decent wind at the start and for the first 10 hours, then gradually getting lighter, almost to the point of drifting.

The conditions approaching Gothenberg are supposed to be quite fluky and variable. This is Brasil1’s dream forecast.. anything but steady conditions is their best chance to get four boats between us, which is what they have to do. Brasil1 may be the fastest boat in the fleet in light air also, so I am sure they are feeling good about their chances. We will just have to keep it close and hope that what ever luck hits them, good or bad, hits us too.

Also, the leg is not a fixed course. The race committee can lengthen or shorten the course by sending us on about six different “loops” as we approach Gothenberg. They want to have the fleet enter the city as close to 1300 CET Saturday as possible. So we wont know for sure how much more racing there is left as we near the end of the race.

If the conditions are very light they may even shorten the course and finish us off Denmark and have us motor in. It is all very much up in the air, so to speak.

So the best strategy for us is to stay close to Brasil1, if we have the speed to do so, and just let all these variables become irrelevant. That is the plan.

Time to get ready for the start.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean