PUMA had a heart stopping moment on the approach to the Leg 6 turning mark at Eleuthera Island when CAMPER very nearly stole the lead the American boat has held since leaving Brazil.
PUMA Media Crew Member Amory Ross tells the story in his latest report from the boat:
So it’s 4pm and all is good. We’re cruising around Eleuthera, sailing at 10 knots in seven to nine knots of breeze, and we’ve opened up a nice gap of 15 miles or so on CAMPER.
We can no longer see them on the horizon and are again feeling good about our chances to extend a little more. We aim for the beach expecting a header, but instead find a long line of windless convergence and we stop, dead in the water.
After a quick gybe and a quick regroup, we again attack the convergence line with a different sail, this time punching through to the stronger breeze on the other side.
But life over there isn’t so rosy and we eventually run out of wind. ‘Helllllo Camper!’
Again they appear in the distance, and again they get larger. At this point we’re watching them sail down to our line in utter amazement. We’re drifting in complete glass-off conditions, there’s not a ripple on the water, and all eyes are on the advancing red sails.
But, instead of punching through as we did, they decide to gybe and sail parallel to the line, now aiming offshore (probably after seeing our troubles further inshore). So we begin the process of mentally preparing for the worst; we’re going to have to watch them sail out and around us as we drift helplessly, unable to do anything about it.
Fortunately, they too ran out of wind, and hours later near sundown, our sails filled and we able to resume sailing towards the mark.
That’s going to be life as we know it for the last 150 miles or so to the finish, and we’re going to have to get used to it; they refuse to go quietly.
As shown by the last week of variable sailing, things can change awfully quickly around here, and with more islands, the Gulf Stream, and a metropolitan coastline in front of us -- nothing is guaranteed.
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- 2 May 2012PUMA hold their nerve despite constant pressure
- 23 Apr 2012PUMA dominate charge home on opening night
- 20 Feb 2012Sickness and slamming take their toll