This leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is not going to plan. They never seem to do so, and never in the same way.
The last leg suffered from too much wind, too strong - all the time too strong. This leg has gone to the other extreme with slow drifting conditions, boat speeds often below 10 knots.
It reminds me a bit of last year's Fastnet when we all drifted aimlessly across the Celtic Sea, entertained by pod after pod of wonderful dolphins (above), going ooh and aah when we should have been trimming.
The decisions the Volvo fleet have taken to avoid tides in the channel seem similar too - stand off Portland Bill then duck in close to the land by the Lizard.
But at least we got the wind nicely around the rock - as you can see here:
We were late getting in and on arrival at Plymouth had nearly no food or drink left onboard but for water. Again the Volvo boats have a similar problem with rationing being enforced.
But at least one thing on this leg is as expected: ABN1 has taken the lead. The fat boat's got agile in light winds thanks to souped-up sails.
What could one do to get a chance to sail on her I wonder?
All pictures (c) Captain JP
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