Biotherm crew member Alan Roberts has described the “baptism of fire” he has faced during his first ever leg of The Ocean Race as teams were left battling a night of extraordinary conditions.
With gale force winds rising above 30 knots, crews were left continuously reassessing their tactics of how to navigate the challenge as they continued to make their way towards the finishing point at Newport, Rhode Island.
Roberts has provided an update from Biotherm, which is being skippered by Paul Meilhat.
“We knew it was going to be a tricky night,” he said.
“We made decisions and talked a lot as a team. I think we made the right calls.”
Speaking about what it was like to experience the aggressive weather conditions, Roberts said: “The boat was slamming pretty hard. Initially, we were going pretty fast.
“The boat slammed across the waves pretty violent so you can’t stand up on board. You can’t walk. You’re always laid down or sat down.”
Apart from one or two crew members keeping watch, Roberts said others stayed downstairs trying to sleep or at least get some rest, which he admitted was difficult with the boat bouncing.
He added: “It was a good experience, a good baptism of fire.”
Speaking of being involved in the race for the first time, Roberts said: “It’s been a really good leg. Obviously had lighter winds for the start then all the way up to the last couple of days.
“It’s really cool to work in a team. I’ve done some IMOCA sailing before but mainly double handed so it’s nice to be part of a team and share responsibilities.”
Roberts was also full of praise for skipper Meilhat and said he is “learning from an amazing sailor who’s very accomplished already at sea.”
“I feel very privileged to have sailed with him.”
Biotherm are currently in third place, with Team Malizia ahead of them and the 11th Hour Racing Team leading the way.
Leg 4 of The Ocean Race began on April 23 and concludes on May 21 in Newport.
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