It was a long night Monday night but we finally sailed under the Verrazano Bridge and into New York Harbor at 0600 Tuesday morning to finish in second place for leg 6. This is yet another solid performance for the crew of the Black Pearl and moves Pirates of the Caribbean up the rankings to second place over all. It was especially meaningful to me to have this good result here in the USA!
Movistar and Pirates were neck and neck the whole way up the Jersey shore on Monday. Ericsson was about 3 miles behind and Brasil1 another 2 behind that.
That was a race. When the wind died nearing New York Harbor, the four of us compressed. At one point for about an hour, we were slating with no wind at all. We got lucky and caught a breath of air and legged out to a 10 minute lead on the other three at Ambrose Light – the entrance buoy for New York.
Movistar, Brasil1 and Ericsson were all within one minute at the light.
Brasil1 being just behind the other two, cut over a bank on the way in the harbor. This was very risky but it shot them ahead of Moivstar and Ericsson for a third on the leg. Ericsson finished fourth and Movistar fifth, all four of us with a bout 12 minutes. I felt for Movistar as they deserved to be third on the leg but we all knew coming into these harbors is risky because anything can happen with so much current and fluky winds.
The race is really between everyone other than ABN Amro One. They are so fast that it does not matter where they go or if they have a problem for a period of time.
It is strange; they are out there but I don’t really make any tactics or strategy with them in mind. They were five miles behind us half way down the Chesapeake Bay. That is because it was very light winds – under 6 knots and they are very slow in that condition. With a minimum of steady conditions over 10 knots of wind, they are 5-10% faster than anyone else in the fleet.
The ended up winning the leg by 20 miles by just steaming away up the Jersey shoreline. The rest of us are having a good race.
The 40 hour race from Annapolis to New York was a tough one. Going upwind in 40 knots of wind is tough in any boat but these boats really pound and it seems like something is going to give. Then the fact that we were sailing up along the New Jersey shore line meant that we were taking every hour and that mean “stacking”. Stacking is taking everything on the boats; sails 1500 pounds, food 200 pounds, spares 500 pounds, clothes 50 pounds, and moving it from one side to the other while the boat is bucking like a bronco and healing at 25 degrees and someone is dumping buckets of water on you.
That is “Stacking”. Some of the crew are suffering from forearm muscle problems from all the lugging.
The first thing we did upon arriving in New York, was to eat a big breakfast. Then a shower and four hour nap. We met at 1400 to go over our work list and get into it. New York is a “Pit Stop”. Under the Volvo Ocean Race rules, no shore team can help with maintenance, cleaning or even set foot on the boat, while in a “Pit Stop” port. If a team does have a non crew member onboard, she will take a two hour penalty applied to the restart tomorrow.
Movistar has elected to take the two hour penalty. They had a broken winch part that they probably did not have a spare of onboard. Movistar also took the two hour penalty in Wellington. At that time, the weather was such that she got brought up to the fleet within two days as those ahead had less favorable conditions. So, there is a strategic decision to be made in consort with your meteorologist. We don’t have anything so major to fix that it requires the shore team. ABN Amro One made a proposal in Annapolis to allow the shore teams onboard to “clean the boats”. That got shot down as everyone else thought they could handle cleaning the inside of the boat after just 40 hours of sailing.
Today we are taking Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger for a sail. Bob is a sailor himself, owning a Hinkley 52. Tonight the crew is going to the New York Yacht Club, Pirates host club for the New York stopover, where I will make a presentation about the Volvo Ocean Race and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tomorrow, Leg 7 starts at 1300. The forecast is not good – 20 knots from the east with rain. Not good if you are trying to go east.
Get some rest, it is going to be another tough one.
Pirates of the Caribbean