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PUMA gamble on "big chance" east

Taking decisions... © Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Taking decisions... © Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

PUMA Ocean Racing have made the boldest of calls, choosing to position themselves more than 100 nautical miles to the east of the fleet. Will it pay, or will it seal their fate? PUMA MCM Amory Ross brings us his latest from Mar Mostro.

I bet you’re wondering what we’re up to? I bet you’re asking yourself “why are they doing what they’re doing? Why are they going where they’re going?” The short answer is we’re doing what we seem to do best so far this race: provide a constant supply of thrills and spills.

We’re taking a chance. A big chance. We’re splitting from the leaders—only 10 miles ahead at the time—and sailing east in an entirely different direction. The important thing to stress is that this decision was made because we think it’s doing what is right based on the weather information we have, not because we’re getting desperate or trying to get away from the fleet. In simple terms, if we were out here sailing by ourselves we would go the way we now are. What we risk of course is losing touch, and that’s a worrying prospect. We don’t sleep much as it us, but you can be sure that decent dozes will be hard to find over the next few days while we all scrutinize the scheds.

Like any decision of this magnitude there are going to be pros and cons. Other than turning our back to the fleet, the biggest argument against our new course is that we’ll likely sail quite a few more miles. But in the eyes of the leadership the fair current, better winds, and far fewer tacks we’ll need to get around Vietnam more than pay for those extra miles. Jono was saying that in the stretch of water we now avoid, he did 38 tacks in one night during the last race. That isn’t fast.

So we’ll all watch with wonder. You, us, the five other boats out here, everyone will be waiting. Thrills and spills, right?

Amory


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