Atlantic Ocean, May 31, 2005. Closer to home than ever, the Volvo Ocean Race entrant VO 70 “movistar” is fast making its way towards the Azores Islands, her final stop before reaching Vigo, Spain.
Since leaving Rio de Janeiro last May 17, the RCN Sanxenxo boat has sailed nearly 3,200 miles North through the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the legendary zero latitude, the Equator. “This has been one of the most hysterical moments of the journey, especially for the rest of the crew” says Iker Martínez, Offshore Helmsman. “But for Xabi and me, it was sheer misery. As the only two rookies on board who had never crossed the Equator, our mates prepared us a little private celebration we will never forget”.
“The last report sent in by the “movistar” indicates they are some 800 miles off the Azores; – calculates Pedro Campos, General Manager – and we estimate they are just a couple of days from arrival. From the Azores, they will have to sail 1,000 more miles before reaching Galicia, where we will cheerfully welcome them next Sunday or maybe Monday”.
Skipper’s log: 750 miles to the Azores
Skipper Bouwe Bekking tells of their treck aboard the “movistar”: “I don’t know what happened last night, but suddenly we were in the middle of a storm, not of wind and water but of hundreds of flying fish. While the slippery creatures rained down upon us from all sides, Xabi screamed out: “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!” and we feared the worst. But when we checked him out on deck, it turned out that one of the flying fish had hit his foot with exacting precision. We had a laugh over it and everyone relaxed a bit. Nonetheless I’m afraid Xabi is going to have to hear this
story for a long time”.
“Life aboard is truly and adventure from all angles. What we all really want is a bath, something we haven’t been able to do yet – complains Xabi Fernández, Jib Trimmer – At the speed we are sailing, it’s impossible to throw a bucket to the sea to collect some water to shower ourselves!”
“We have been sailing northbound since we left Rio de Janeiro- continues Bekking-, from one latitude to the next; we departed at 22 South and headed straight toward the 39 North, where the Azores are located. From there, we’ll change course and sail eastbound, benefitting from the favourable current and the downwind. I’m confident we’ll pick up good speed on our way to Vigo”.
“Things are going along at a good pace for the time being, sailing at an average speed of 14 knots, but we can feel already the first signs of a high-pressure system, resulting in a shift in the wind direction and an unstable force”.
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