Leg 5: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Miami, Florida
Dispatch 6: Recoup, Regroup, and Mend | Dispatch Archive
April 5, 2002
[Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit field dispatches.]
Now that the fleet is well and truly out of the Southern Ocean it is a
time to recoup, regroup, and mend those boats! There was an
unusual amount of damage on the last leg for a relatively light airs
leg, and this always focuses the mind. The boats have sailed well
over halfway round the world and the wear and tear is starting to
become evident. I remember that when we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale
in the 1989-90 race there were many repairs to be done to many of
the boats. We had a fractured rig and a leak somewhere in the hull
that we couldnt pinpoint. (Rather worrying!) The shore crews will be
full on at this stopover.
Although the wind and waves are usually extreme and terrifying, it is not
completely unknown to be becalmed in the Southern Ocean as we have
seen with the teams on this race. It is a weird feeling to be in that desolate
place with no wind.
Realistically, the lead position is now open to the top three boats who
continue to push each other as hard as possible. It is also becoming
clear that there is no substitute for experience. Illbruck, Amer
Sports One and Team Tyco have all to play for. The
middle of the fleet is also close and the battle there will be no less
intense on the next short but tactical leg up to Annapolis.
The crew changes for the next leg will be important as the legs from
now on are shorter and therefore theres less time to get it right. No-one can afford to make the slightest mistake now.
There will be a feeling of renewed vigor and effort on the next leg as
it almost feels that the race starts again from this point. I think that
the psychology of lots of short legs will be interesting, and the team
that can deal with that will be the team in the lead.
<< Previous Dispatch | Next Dispatch >>
More on our correspondent >>