Walker's World Race Diary - 26 March

Green Dragon skipper Ian Walker analyses the latest developments in the Volvo round the world race in his exclusive diary

The end is nigh.

We now have a little over 600 miles to go in leg five, or. in sailor speak about a Fastnet worth. Soon this marathon leg, which at 12,300 miles is longer than the distance from UK to New Zealand by sea, will be over. We have been at sea 39 days and we should make Rio in another three.

Think back to Valentine's Day seven weeks ago and think of everything that has happened since. That is when we left Qingdao.

Up until 36 hours ago we were stuck in no wind with little hope of making it to Rio inside a week. Yesterday morning we started moving again and soon the miles to go figure starting rolling down.

This is great news for the crew as we only brought food for 40 days and have been rationing for a week already. Sailing Volvo 70s is very hard work and doing it with little food is even harder.

Mentally and physically this leg has been very tough and there is no way we will recover in the two weeks we have before the restart. That is all we have to prepare for the next leg to Boston and it is made harder by the fact we have an in-port race to do next Saturday.

For us it has been a good leg. First and formost we have had no major gear failure or problems with the boat or sails - this is crucial as any detour for repairs may have seen us miss the next leg.

Secondly we have made a good race of it with the top boats, despite having fallen over 200 miles behind in the first week. We have stuck to our task and repeatedly pulled back the miles and only in the last week when we became ensnared by a huge high pressure area with no wind did we lose touch.

A bonus has been the fact that we passed Telefonica Blue after New Zealand and, as they have fought technical problems, they have been unable to pass us yet.

I say yet as the approach to Rio is notoriously difficult and anything could still happen - the race isn't over until you are tied to the dock!

Stuart Alexander, The Independent's sailing correspondent, talks to Ian Walker via satellite phone.

As a skipper it has been a tough leg to manage the crew for such a long time. You cannot push everybody 100% for this length of time, especially in the Southern Ocean, when you are over 2,000 miles from the nearest help. We were cautious at times, particularly as we approached the notorious Cape Horn, and I am pleased that we were.

At times we have pushed really hard to make a weather window, where gains and losses are compounded. For now it is a question of keeping moving towards Rio, try to forget thinking about food, and be very grateful that we will have completed an epic journey - the longest ever in the history of this race.

We hope to retain our fourth place for our efforts, which, together with our scoring gate points, will see us build a big gap on those behind overall.

Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell you how competitive I am and that I like to win at whatever I do. I rarely derive satisfaction just from taking part. But, when I look back on leg five of this race, it will be with a lot of pride and satisfaction.

Ian Walker has won two silver medals at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympic Games and was skipper of the Team GBR challenge for the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2003. Now he is skipper of the Galway-based, Chinese-partnered Green Dragon team in the Volvo Ocean Race and is writing an exclusive commentary for The Independent plus talking to Stuart Alexander by satellite link from the boat during the 10 legs and 37,000 miles that take the fleet from Spain around the world to St. Petersburg.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home