Returning bowman Casey Smith said he both him and PUMA’s boat and sails were holding up well despite a punishing first few days of Leg 7 from Miami to Lisbon.
"We have been through every sail on the boat already on this leg" Casey Smith - bowman, PUMA
Having been forced off the boat by a nasty back injury sustained on Leg 5 in the Southern Ocean, Smith bounced back to fitness in time to get back on board for the transatlantic leg from the USA to Portugal.
“It is good to be back on the boat and my back feels fine,” Smith confirmed today. “We have had a lot of sail changes and I have not had any problems as yet.
Smith said he was relieved to have survived a hectic first night of action followed soon after by the unpredictability of tropical storm Alberto.
“There are no issues with me the boat or the sails,” he said. “We got through that storm with no damage. The boat is in great shape and all our sails are in perfect condition. Everything is 100 percent, no problems.
Smith said he had not kept an accurate tally of how many sail changes had been required in the opening four days of the leg but had another measure of how busy the bow team had been: “What I do know is that we have been through every sail on the boat already on this leg,” he said.
Smith said the pace had calmed down in the last 24 hours as the fleet tracked east in close formation, allowing the PUMA crew to take stock and get into a proper rhythm.
“Everyone is just trying to catch up on their rest right now while we have got some pleasant downwind sailing,” he said. “We are into our watch cycle properly now and catching up on sleeping and eating.”
However Smith said there had been no let up in the need to push the boat hard, particularly after PUMA fell foul of a light air zone which lost them ground on the fleet.
“We had a little bit of a light patch which the other boats didn’t seem to go through, so we are having to push as hard as we can,” Casey said.
“Tommy (Addis, navigator) has been telling us that there are some big decisions ahead. We get to enjoy this bit of sailing for a while and then there could be a low pressure system coming down out of the north off the top of America.
Smith said that the crew were treating Leg 7 across the Atlantic Ocean like a sprint.
“We call this a short leg, so every hour it is critical that Tom and Kenny (Read, skipper) are on their game with the weather, so they are spending all their time there,” Smith said.
“Kenny is at the navigation desk right now looking at the weather and the routing and everything.”
“It is a sort of wait and see. For right now we are just going down wind and sailing fast.”
- 22 May 2012When scheds go wrong
- 21 May 2012Abu Dhabi working flat out in three way scrap for third
- 16 May 2012Fighting fit Smith and Harmer back from sidelines
- 20 Mar 2012Battered and bruised in full-blown ocean battle
- 24 Jan 2012Crews sweat the small stuff in hope of big gains to come
- 22 Nov 2011PUMA will live to fight another day, says Read