Back Downs and No Backs
John Kostecki explains how the boats are having to perform 'back downs' to remove weed in this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, whilst Lisa McDonald talks about the perils of waves with 'No Backs'.
"Seaweed has played a big role in this leg so far. All the teams have performed "back downs". This normally means dropping your headsail or spinnaker and turning the boat into the wind, which allows the boat to stop, and slowly go in reverse for a few moments to let the sea weed come off the keel, strut, and rudder. Each back down move you make you can lose anywhere from 0.5 to 2 miles. Making the back down move could mean losing 2-4 places. That is one of the reasons the boats are changing positions all of the time on this leg."
- John Kostecki, illbruck Challenge
"Imagine sailing up a wave front of any description, long roller or short and steep, now imagine falling off a cliff on the other side - that would be a wave with 'no back'. This is a most unpleasant experience for both yacht and crew. You tend to land all together with a great shuddering 'bang' at the bottom of the next wave. These waves are very hard to predict and take you very much by surprise... it's a bit like hearing a car come to a screeching halt, you pause and cringe for a moment to hear if there is a crash…and then either a big sigh of relief when no noise or shock horror of an incident."
- Lisa McDonald, Amer Sports Too