The Everest of Sailing

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand co-skipper Stu Bannatyne writes about the latest events from the Volvo Ocean Race

Stu Bannatyne: Bad memories fade with 'Champagne sailing'

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Daryl Wislang driving onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. Photo / Hamish Cooper
Daryl Wislang driving onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. Photo / Hamish Cooper

My last blog concluded with us having just broken our boat and making our way towards land.

A lot has happened since then and with a huge effort from the sailing team and the shore team we are back in the race and within a hundred miles of finishing leg 5 into Itajai.

We expect to cross the line on Tuesday around lunchtime, which will be 30 days since we left Auckland of which 25 of those days we have spent delivering and repairing the boat. This has been very tough mentally on the crew, we are all here to race hard and to change that mind set to delivery mode has been a major adjustment for all of us. And of course we are not prepared for deliveries and so lack all essential books, movies, games and music which we otherwise have no time for when racing. Not to mention we were delivering the boat in some of the harshest areas of the world for sailing. There was not a lot of opportunity for relaxing on deck; in fact it was only two days ago that I could first go on deck without a foul weather jacket on since leaving Auckland.

What a difference a change in weather makes, the last few days have seen sea temperatures rise and the breeze come aft and we have enjoyed what can only be described as champagne sailing. It is times like these that you are reminded why we make a career out of sailing. It is a strange quirk of human character that the bad memories of the cold, wet, miserable conditions we have experience in the last few weeks are already just a fading memory. It is one of the reasons that I keep being drawn back to this race. I can only remember with clarity the good times and not the bad times. I think I might be talking myself into doing another race already.

It is with a feeling of great satisfaction that we will finish this leg and collect a very important 15 points in this race. We are only just over half way in terms of points allocation so there is still plenty to play for and this experience of this leg has made us even more determined as a team to get back amongst the leaders in the coming legs. We have only a few days to prepare for the in port race but you can be sure we will come out fighting and hoping to repeat our winning performance from the Auckland in port race.

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