My First Leg

11/02/2015 11:16 GMT | Updated 12/04/2015 10:59 BST


There was no better day for me to start the Volvo Ocean Race. After three legs of watching my team mates race from the shore, I've been itching for my turn to join them on the Volvo 65 - though after going through everything with Corinna (my fellow Onboard Reporter), it was sad to wave goodbye as we left Sanya.

We currently have wind (always useful when you're trying to get somewhere fast on a sailing boat), the sea temperature is relatively warm and we're in one piece - just! But more importantly, we're off and on our way to sunny Auckland.

The bad news is there are waves, lots of them, short and sharp ones. So as we sail along upwind it's a bit like driving a very old car, with no suspension, on an un-made road with lots of pot holes. A bit of a bumpy ride as you can imagine...


Sailing on an upwind course means that the boat is very heeled over, so we are not only slamming up and down in the chop, but we are also living at 25 degrees. I wouldn't recommend you try this in a very old car, but I'm sure it would be just as uncomfortable as it is in our Volvo 65 racing boat.

Life at 25 degrees of heel whilst pitching up and down is pretty is hard, comical at times as we're flung in every direction imaginable, but mainly just unpleasant.

Why? Sea-sickness. For those who feel queasy at the thought of hopping on a ferry, you will be pleased to hear that you are not alone - even the toughest and most experienced sailors can get sea-sick. I think there are probably some conditions that the human body just isn't equipped to deal with.


I'm one of the lucky ones and as yet have not felt sea sick - although looking intently at a lit screen trying to hit the right key on the keyboard whilst writing this blog might just push me over the edge. There are also tonight's weather conditions to contend with.

I look up and see we're currently sailing along our J2 with a reef in the mainsail. This might sound like gibberish, but it lets me know we are preparing for some high winds. The sensor at the top of our mast is currently reading 26 knots, but were expecting this to build to 30 knots through the night.

So, as in all good horror films where all the actions happens at night in the dark, it looks like we will be having one more night of slamming up and down, hanging on to whatever we can, whilst struggling to get dressed without falling over and trying not to decorate the inside of the boat with your dinner.


I can already smell tonight's freeze dried meal wafting over as the hot water is being poured into the powdered mixture a few feet away. While I'm excited about having my first meal on board, the girls tell me that the longing for some fresh fruit, real meat and a good glass of wine normally kicks in hard after about 18 days at sea - so I'm trying extra hard to firmly push all thoughts of doughnuts and slices of cake out of my head.

For the members of Team SCA who have been on all three legs of the race so far, the charm of living on powdered food has long worn off, luckily we're heading to New Zealand where we hear the food (and wine!) is excellent.

More excitingly is that I just stuck my head out of the hatch and I could see three mast lights of other Volvo 65's. We're in the middle of the fleet, gaining on our competitors and pushing hard.

We have 5000 miles of racing, slamming, stacking, changing sails and freeze dried food to go, but it will all be worth it if we arrive into Auckland with a few of those Volvo 65 mast lights (and a few, probably grumpy, male sailors) behind us.