Friday, January 06, 2006

Foot on the floor

The Volvo fleet - or what remains of it - is now powering its way towards Melbourne. Well, maybe not as powered as many would like, for the some the sun is out, the temperature warm and the wind for the leader ABN AMRO ONE a rather mild 15 knots.

Behind them stalks a 50 knot low, as can be seen in the picture above, and its noticable that the back of the fleet has significantly stronger wind than the front.

But the depression is taking its time in catching up, so the fleet is enjoying themselves - apart from Adam Hawkins on ING Real Estate Brunel who had to dive into the freezing water to free fragments of a spinnaker wraped around the keel.

There was an interesting article at the Volvo site about how the new designs need a new approach from skippers. Less foot on the floor - more management of the boat. But is that really a change? After all a key skill of all skippers from day sailors to round the world professionals is seamanship - reef the main and reduce the size of the jib when the wind rises.

It also calls the foot on the floor approach macho, which can't be right. As the breakages of the last few days have shown, upwind is tougher than downwind. The sort of sailing that needs steel not carbon fibre. The sort of sailing currently being "enjoyed" by, er, Dee Caffari.

Pictures from Virtual Spectator

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