SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN OFF ARGENTINA – "Mesmerising" is the word I use to describe how one hour blends into another hour as the incessant hum of the engine helps to push the boat north against the near gale-force wind. Albatrosses, fulmars, and petrels glide and dance across the swell tops. Specs of white on grey canvas of the ocean and sky, continue their endless search for food on the surface. The bigger birds glide seemingly almost without effort, playing the updraft of the troughs and crest; the smaller birds crisscross with unbelievable speed, flying around the peaks and somehow avoid each other. This is no mean feat with more than 20 birds following the wake. How do they decide what to pick up? Anything that is different and stands out? Does color make a difference? I look closely but for all the hours gazing at the aerial spectacle I don’t once see them pick something up….too quick for the eye? Or too scarce the food? The hour at the helm is too short and eagerly taken by the next pilot as the five-man crew rotates one-hour driving, one on deck, then three hours off. Eat, sleep, helm is life onboard. – Damian Foxhall (IRL), five-time VOR veteran now serving as the "Delivery Captain" for Vestas 11th Hour Racing as they motor-sail, with a jury rig, en route from the Falkland Islands (where they were dismasted during Leg 7) to Itajaí, BRA. They hope to arrive in time to put a new mast in the yacht, which awaits them in Itajaí, before the April 22nd start of Leg 8 to Newport, RI. Full post by Mr Foxhall on the team's Facebook page here.
According to Vestas 11th Hour Racing, "There’s not much that six-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and passionate ocean advocate Damian Foxall (IRL) hasn’t done when it comes to sailing. Now he leads a five-person delivery crew on the 1500nm journey to Itajai, Brazil from the Falkland Islands and also takes on the role of Onboard Reporter." This is Mr Foxhall's 5th Volvo Ocean Race. He also raced with Vestas on Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon. Photo/graphic courtesy of the VOR website. Astonishingly (at least to your Ed.) the VOR website has not published a story, any story, in three days notwithstanding that two teams – Vestas and SHK / Scallywag – are fighting to get to Itajaí in time for Leg 8 after having to retire during Leg 7. Vestas was dismasted, and Scallywag's crewman John Fisher was tragically lost overboard.