Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"The roughest, toughest race on the planet."

It's barely two days into the Volvo Ocean Race and sailing has proven to be the most hardcore sport in the world. Just a few snipets:

- Three yachts---including the USA boat, Pirates of the Carribean---have been battered so bad they had to head to Portugal for in port repairs. Only four yachts remain in race, heading from Spain to Cape Town South Africa.

- One navigator said that their boat was stopped in the water and crew members were in the water cutting away ropes from the keel.

- A skipper reports a fire on board.

- Brasil 1’s navigator emails that, “Within hours of the start we were in 20-30 knots of wind, harnesses on, as the boat started to take off at speeds of up to 30 knots down steep waves. Last night we had a few squalls of up to 40 knots and the sea was very rough, six to seven metres, so sleeping and eating was almost impossible."

- Two crewmembers of one yacht got swept along the cockpit with so much force that they took out the steering wheel, steering pedestal and the safety frame.

- Another sailor emails, “Just got called up half way through writing this with a 46 knot squall!!! Am just now back in the navigation station, four hours later after getting the reacher down, getting it packed and stacked, getting the new sail up and then frantically bailing out the back of the boat, where we have a hole in the deck where the steering pedestal has ripped off... This is seriously hardcore..."

In addition, the only thing they can eat is freeze-dried gruel and they only sleep in two to three hour stints. Makes my day sailing to Thomas Point Lighthouse and back seem like child's play.
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