Skipper Ian Walker and media crew member keep us up to date with Azzam's progress in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
IAN WALKER, SKIPPER
What a bizarre day of racing. This morning we were cursing not gybing soon enough to stay in some strong wind when we were close to Taiwan, only to find we were able to swap sides with
and pass both them and
to the south. This afternoon we could see both
with the binoculars in very light winds to the north and decided to take another gybe south.
followed suit and this has seen us both gain many miles.
It looks like we have learnt our lesson from leg 2 and we have handled the passing trough exactly as we hoped. Amazingly we now have nearly 100 miles of separation from
although this will diminish when they tack.
have sailed a near perfect leg so far and for us to be back in touch with them both feels great.
must think the navigators have gone mad - or that we do not know the way to Auckland.
The route we are taking is so far off the scale of any historical routes it isn't funny. Essentially this is being driven by the desire to get as far east as we can before the trade winds re-establish themselves from the east. Being east will give us a much faster angle as we finally turn south east to Auckland and should avoid any very costly tacks later on. After a few days of crashing and banging in the South China Sea, today has been a day of respite. Sleeping has been much easier and we have had a good tidy up down below. In essence spirits are high onboard
- this morning we were staring at big overnight losses to the fleet and tonight we are in a solid position - what a difference a day makes!
NICK DANA, MEDIA CREW MEMBER
Day five now and we're still plugging off into the East.
is still nipping at our heels while
are just above our line and a bit further east. The breeze is becoming more and more patchy as the day goes on. A little rain mixed with some thunder storms to the North have made for some interesting and very ominous looking cloud lines. Yet none of them seem to hold the breeze strength or direction that we are looking for at the moment. Puma seems to still be climbing North in hopes to link in with consistent trade winds first and eventually begin the long journey Southward with a full head of steam.
It's Ian's birthday tomorrow and we have decided that if the conditions stayed relaxed a bit longer today we should have time to make a pinata. Something that Rob and I have talked about making for a long time, but never get the time to sit around like 12 year olds and build. Hopefully today is the day though. Jules thinks we're idiots, but we know that pinata parties are always the best. If for some reason it doesn't happen with Ian's birthday we still have Wade's 31st coming up in a few days.
As far as the mood goes on board everyone is pretty happy (as per the need for pinata's). We get a little frustrated sometimes that we're five days into the race and still headed East, but that's because we have nothing else to look at besides charts. Not to mention we're closer to Hawaii now then New Zealand, and almost have a better weather pattern to get to Honolulu before we would Auckland. In fact, we ran a route last night that would get us to Brazil and would only take us six days longer than it would to get to Auckland. In short, we need to turn South soon to keep things fresh.
Picture by Nick Dana / Volvo Ocean Race