No Day 10 doldrums: Close race, mythology mark equator crossing

Volvo log

Sailing

March 20, 2002|By Chris Larson

ABOARD ASSA ABLOY — Annapolis sailor Chris Larson, tactician aboard Swedish entry ASSA ABLOY in the Volvo Ocean Race, will provide readers of The Sun periodic updates as the fleet heads for the United States.

ABOARD ASSA ABLOY - Today is Day 10 of Leg 5 to Miami and we are still locked in an incredible battle with illbruck and Tyco. We are in second place, 2.5 miles behind illbruck and nine ahead of Tyco. The rest of the fleet is 60-100 miles behind. It's amazing that after 10 days of racing we are still within sight of each other.

Yesterday we crossed the equator and have worked our way through the doldrums without any of the traditionally light and fickle breezes. Instead we have had southeasterly winds blowing 20-25 knots. Most of last night and today we've been flying our A3 and A5 asymmetrical spinnakers, reaching speeds up to 24 knots.

Life on board is going well, and we have had no major problems. The boat is completely stacked on starboard with everything that is not bolted down. Our food, emergency medical supplies, clothing, and sails are as far outboard as possible. The leeward side of the boat below looks like an empty shell that has been deserted.

With the crossing of the equator yesterday, we were treated to a visit from King Neptune, the mythical god of the sea. King Neptune was very unhappy with our speedy crossing and took his anger out on me. In a lavish ceremony on deck, I was baptized because this was my first crossing. I begged forgiveness, but to no avail. Fun was had by all, and video evidence will allow the ceremony to be recounted for years to come.

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