Walker's World Race Diary - 16 April

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

As I write this we are about 60 miles off the Brazilian coast approaching Recife and only 400 miles to the scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha.

This is fairly significant for a first time round the world sailor like myself as we are about to cross our track from leg one, when we headed round Fernando en route to Cape Town.

I am not sure if this technically means we have sailed around the world but, for me, I will consider the job truly done when we return to Galway in May.

So far this had been a mixed leg. The good news is that we sailed well the first night and for a long period held on to second place.

Stuart Alexander talks to Ian Walker via satellite phone.

The bad news is that we have been ground down and now lie in last place about 10 miles adrift of Puma and Ericsson 3. There is little we can do in terms of tactics or strategy to keep up with the faster boats.

Our game is, once again, one of patience and trying to keep as close as possible to others to capitalise on any mistakes. We have 4,000 miles to go to Boston to climb up the rankings.

After the drama of the last two, this leg is remarkable for how dull it has been. Light winds, largely reaching, hot with no water over the decks. All very pleasant but not what we crave, and not what will get us to Boston quickly.

Ahead of us we should have an easy transition through the doldrums and then a nice period of north-easterly trade winds to carry us up to the North Atlantic. From there anything could happen on our way to Boston.

We are prepared for all conditions and even very cold weather for the last few days. One thing I am sure of is that we will not go hungry on this leg.

On the last leg we ran out of food and I lost 7kg or 10 per cent of my body weight. So far I am struggling to keep up with the increased meals and snacks. Maybe I will even be heavier by the time I arrive in Boston than when I left Rio?

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.