The Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí
Leg 5, of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, due to begin 15 March, began on Wednesday 18 March 2015, after a 67 hour delay, due to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, bearing down on NZ from the north, and the start of Leg 5. Finally, at 9am local NZ time, the remaining Fleet of 6 boats, sailed out of the Auckland Harbour, headed towards the southern ocean, and to let the truth be laid straight, no one knows what to expect anymore, as year after year our ever changing weather systems are intensifying,
so what does lie ahead in this Southern Ocean?
Here’s a taste of what the Fleet are going through? Like to see? Of course you do…
Inside Track: Leg 5 # 2 | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15
Leg 5 is a 7,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to Brazil that will take the boats to the furthest point from land on earth. Maybe you’d care to try something like that?
Dongfeng Race Team Skipper, Charles Caudrelier, said “I’m heading into the Southern Ocean with two sailors onboard that have never sailed in more than 30 knots of wind, of course it’s added pressure… the last time Abu Dhabi were in trouble in the Southern Ocean, the nearest ship was 1000 miles away. It’s a reality check – but I reckon with the one design we will be closer.”
Navigator Pascal Bidégorry on the Southern Ocean… “Pffff, last time? Last time was 14 years ago and I dismasted. Then we stayed at sea for 21 days without a mast before we reached safety. That was not fun. The Southern Ocean it breaks boats… ”
Charles Caudrelier… “I’m not sure they know what lies ahead and maybe it’s better that way? I trust them and they know the boat…”.
I for one, every night, I look out into darkness of the southern skies, from here in New Zealand, and I wonder what it must be like for those magnificent sailors. Trust me, I have no intention to personally ever find out, but it makes me wonder about them. I find it hard to fathom being on watch at 1am in the morning, sailing fast through the cold waves of the Southern Ocean, a cloud covered sky, dark, or maybe the luxury of a clear sky at night with stars and the moon, yet sailing through the darkness of the night, and fast… how do they do it?
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015…
7 Teams began, in Alicante, Spain, six are still sailing!
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Dongfeng Race Team
& Team Vestas Wind,
who found themselves on a reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on November 29, 2014. The crew was forced to abandon the boat. They are attempting a re-build and will try to re-join the Fleet somewhere along the way. So, that leaves 6 still sailing.
And now onto the Southern Ocean, and the rounding of Cape Horn… hopefully a safe journey for all. The facts remain, it is not safe, but rounding the Horn is something these sailors are driven to achieve & they are some of the best sailors and racers our planet has ever seen, and known and yes, some are very new to this sport, but keen they are, and on they sail!
On the Departure/Start of Leg 5, I almost found myself without a ride on any media boat, to capture photos from my POV. To explain, on the pre planned Departure date of Sunday, there were plenty of Media Boats available, but now 3 days later, due to the delay of waiting out Cyclone Pam, all the Media boats were no where to be found, well a few, but what I found unfolding was most extraordinary… each & every seat on the Team & Media RIBS were all taken by others ahead of me, right down to the very last seat on a Media RIB, by a person I had met just 2 weeks before the Arrivals into Auckland of the Fleet… he was standing outside of the newly erected fence at the Media Centre, with a camera hanging off his shoulder strap, and we began talking. He was set to leave this country before the Arrivals, yet I suppose he liked the sounds of what I was to tell him about the Volvo Ocean Race, because he stayed & he managed to receive his VOR accreditation as a photographer, and he had the last seat, on the wharf that day! Interesting position I found myself in, so, what to do? I didn’t come to see the RIBS that day, I came to photograph the Departure of Leg 5! So, I turned my keen eyes behind me, scanning carefully, & I spotted my ride… I saw a RIB coming out from under the bridge, at the Viaduct, with only 2 people on it. I grabbed my gear, headed out to the end of one of the other pontoons, waved and stuck out my thumb… I’ve never hitch hiked on the sea!
~On that note, I used to be a pilot, years back, and departing a southern California airstrip, without a control tower, in a Merlin III that I used to fly, my co-pilot & I spotted a girl who suddenly came running out, to the edge of the runway, & she stuck her thumb out… hitchhiking!
Why not, we laughed, pulled the throttles back, stopped and she got her ride that day!
Anyways, back to Auckland… here I am, on the end of the pontoon, waving & hitchhiking, and they spotted me! Trust me, you should try it, you never know who you’ll meet next in this lifetime! I must have looked like I sort of fit in, but somehow left out. They asked me if I needed a lift, I said I sure do, I said I needed to get out to photograph and all the media RIBS had left, they said hop on! What a gift… it was Grant Dalton, Emirates Team NZ Manager & Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Team NZ, and they are 7 & 5 x ‘Round The World’ veterans. I was in good hands & it was the ride of this Event for me! Thank you guys!
And with that, thank you Volvo Ocean Race Media, all you magnificent Teams, and those of you I met during this Auckland Stop Over, & those of you I met whom have sailed some of the Round The World races, amazing the lot of you. Thank you!
Now enough of me, I’m back with my best friend & partner Meg, who is happy the race has left town, so we can get back to wagging our tails, on all the trails we find before us.
Best way to follow this race, if you are not sailing it:
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 2105
and if you’re on Facebook, we are HERE, with lots of updates & tales of the sea and all we see too!
Itajaí is next, best wishes to you all throughout this passage!