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Volvo Ocean Race - Leg 1 Day 17

by Volvo Ocean Race media 28 Nov 2005 19:21 GMT

“A Shark’s Tale”

After a record breaking weekend for the Volvo Ocean Race, the first four yachts ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson), ABN AMRO TWO (Sebastien Josse), Brasil 1 (Torben Grael) and Ericsson (Neal McDonald) are still tearing along down wind heading straight for Cape Town and the finish. The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse, or better, depending on your view. The breeze is up to 25 knots from the northwest and the temperature has dropped to thermal and foul weather gear-wearing levels.

Neal McDonald (Ericsson) has had a “brutal” weekend seeing ABN AMRO ONE, ABN AMRO TWO and Brasil 1 extend their lead over his fourth place. He explained the reasons behind their slightly slower speeds today,

“A couple of days in heavy reaching conditions without our fractional reaching kite (a special spinnaker which allows the boat to be sailed at the correct angle to the wind) that we destroyed on the first night, has cost us dearly. Not only have we completely lost touch with the two ABN boats, who have both been flying off at world record pace, but also we have seen Brasil's lead over us increase to nearly 40 miles. What's worse is not having had this fractional spinnaker has forced us to sail high and, tonight we’re getting caught up in the beginnings of the next frontal system - less wind for us and consequentiality less speed.”

The crew of ABN AMRO ONE also, had a brutal, yet exciting night after their fantastic achievement yesterday, when they became the fastest monohull on the planet (still to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council).

Mike (Sanderson) sent this note retelling the sad story.

“Just had the exciting experience of hitting a shark doing 25 knots! We heard the thud on the keel, it didn't really slow the boat down, but you could feel it shaking the boat. We had to get the sails down and back down off it. Unfortunately for Mini Jaws (about 8 to 10 feet long), the shark didn't make it, But Black Betty seems fine and is back up to full pace.”

Bouwe Bekking (movistar) congratulated ABN AMRO ONE’s crew today, on their achievement, “World records are there to be broken. It was evident in my opinion, that our record would be broken several times in this Volvo race. Well done to Moose (Mike Sanderson) and his boys by breaking the 24 hour monohull record at this early stage.”

The first four yachts in the fleet have around 1400 nautical miles to the finish. ABN AMRO ONE is still in the lead with ABN AMRO TWO hot on their tail, pushing their older brothers hard. Brasil 1 is currently 98 nautical miles behind ABN AMRO TWO. Horacio Carabelli (Brasil 1) told us this afternoon how they have been exploring the yacht’s potential in strong downwind conditions and his role onboard for this leg.

“My main function is monitoring the systems on board and my principal mission is making sure that we have enough batteries and water. It has been quite a fight with Ms Cahalan on this issue, always with her media paraphernalia on but nothing that we can’t laugh at the end.”

More excitement today for the Sunergy and Friends (Grant Wharington) team as they secure new title sponsors for the second leg from Cape Town to Melbourne. ING Real Estate and Brunel International are currently sub-sponsors but have signed a contract agreeing to joint sponsorship. Grant Wharington, and his whole team are said to be delighted. Speaking from the yacht, with about eight days to go before arrival in Cape Town, Wharington said, “We have an awesome team, the boat feels really good, and now we have the support of these two fantastic organizations the jigsaw is complete. It’s a great feeling to have the investment we needed to sail home to Melbourne. Thanks guys!”

Position Report: (16:00 GMT)

PosYachtLatitudeLongitudeDTFCMGSMGDTL
1ABN135 02.12S004 44.23W11479319.80
2ABN234 49.78S006 58.43W12588316.3111
3BRA134 33.00S008 57.20W13569016.7209
4ERIC34 10.72S009 42.56W139610116.4249
5SUNF23 02.18S031 20.81W2680174161533
6MOVI37 07.64N008 31.80W----
7POTC38 41.54N009 24.95W----

Update from ABN AMRO One:

Hi
Just had the exciting experience of hitting a shark doing 25 knots!!!! heard the thud on the keel, didn't really slow the boat down but you could feel it shaking the boat, had to get the sails down and back down off it, unfortunately for Mini jaws ( about 8 to 10 feet long), the shark didn't make it, But BB (Black Betty) seems fine and is back up to full pace..

What a little adventure we are having out here....

Talk soon
Cheers
Moose

Update from Brasil 1:

The passage of this front brought us wet conditions once again. We explored the potential of these boats in quite strong downwind conditions, although with 25-30 knots and high waves from behind steering is very safe, jumping from one wave to another and going through a couple of them in between. I had a good time steering myself for couple of hours yesterday , Tons of water get on deck that quickly drain through the open cockpit .

On one occasion we had one of the keel buttons with some shortcut and passed through some scary moment when the keel dropped to center . A quick analysis of the problem and back again at full speed we are after fixing it. This is part of the fun about racing these machines with great potential fitted with the latest in terms of canting keel systems . Monitoring the systems on board is my main function and be sure that we have enough batteries and water are the principal mission. It has been quite a fight with Ms Cahalan on this issue always with her media parafernalia on but nothing that we can’t laugh at the end. We are in a good track blasting with jib top at 20 knots of speed.

Horacio Carabelli

Update from Ericsson:

Brutal

A coupe of days in heavy reaching conditions without our fractional reaching kite that we destroyed on the first night, has cost us dearly. Not only have we completely lost touch with the two ABN boats, who have both been flying off at world record pace, but also we have seen Brasil's lead over us increase to nearly 40 miles. What's worse is not having had this fractional spinnaker has forced us to sail high and, tonight we’re getting caught up in the beginnings of the next frontal system - less wind for us and consequentiality less speed. Hopefully the boats in front will run into the same system and allow us to catch up later - we can only keep our fingers crossed and try as hard as we can to sail with what we have got.

The next few days could be tricky weather-wise so we'll have to keep on our toes and look for any opportunities to claw back every mile wee can. Despite the obvious disappointment the boys have taken the situation well and are working hard to get back into the frame. Gone are the shorts - now its thermals and full foul weather gear. If the wind turns south it will be colder still -good preparation for body for the next southern ocean leg!

Neal McDonald - skipper

Update from Sunergy & Friends:

Continuing the musical thread from a few days ago "When you see the Southern Cross for the first time" by Kris Kristofferson (forgive me if the artist or spelling is wrong).

The Southern Cross is a bit of an Icon for all on board (even for the token pom Becksy). It has been popping its head up over the horizon steadily over the last few days, and last night it shone in all its glory. Now I can't get that bloody tune out of my head.

Not much has changed over the last 24 hours, we have been reaching along in a steadily building breeze, now at around 20 kts average, with boat speed in a similar region. This morning was a bit of a testing session as we changed from a Code 3 spinnaker to a Code 0 to our R2 reacher (bit of a Jib Top). All good information, and as we go through these exercises we learn more and more about the sails, the boat and what she likes. A busy time is to be had by the sail makers in Cape Town!

This information gathering and assessment helps me to refine our polars, optimize our weather routing options with greater confidence, and also gives a very good benchmark to the Watch Captains Barn Door (Ian Walker) and George Clooney (Jeff Scott), allowing them to assess performance from on deck.

Apart from that sail changing frenzy (it's hard work every change, and takes some time with the number of crew that we have), not a great deal else of interest is happening, we are into another day of sailing. It is interesting how the days roll into one another, as do the weeks. There is no POETS day (Friday in case you were wondering), or 'Monday feeling' out here. The old description about how when in your 20's and early 30's you crash into Monday a complete wreck and recover by Friday primed for another weekend of hedonistic activities, with the complete opposite for the mid 30's + (hit Monday all revitalized, by Friday you are toast - ready to recover on the weekend) doesn't apply. Every day is Wednesday out here, stuck in a void somewhere in the middle. Day in, day out. We've even gone out of sync with our food bags so we can't even use our meals as a reference point for some kind of local calendar (Chickenday, Beefday, Bolognaiseday, Noodlesday, Shephardspieday, Carbonaraday etc).

Had a few more interesting propositions for Mark’s (Mark Fullerton) Punishment. An interesting few from Becksy’s (Mark Bartlett) little sister who turns 15 very soon (hi Katherine). Your suggestions were very entertaining Katherine, and thank you for being so kind(!), however, we will have a few problems executing some of them 1. We don't have any alcohol on board anyway (except for the medicinal kind I believe), 2. We don't have any nail varnish on board (I hope), 3. Nor do we have a bra on board (double I hope - and Queen Codfish didn't wear one to leave behind), let alone any knitting needles (don't ask), 4. The beds are already pretty hard, and Mark is usually in his bunk so fast, and so reluctant to get out of it that I doubt that we'll get the chance to execute that one.

As for the suggestions from my sister: you are never getting another call for your birthday, let alone a present.

Our run to Cape Town is looking pretty good from here. We anticipate to hook south into 20 to 30 knot North Westerlies in 2 days time, as long as our skirting the Western edge of the nowhere-near-St-Helena High goes to plan, to give us a ride west that will chew up the miles at a great rate. We should, with some careful planning manage to stay ahead of a cold front that will start moving into the SW region of the south Atlantic sometime on the 1st Dec for in excess of 1300 miles or so. This should bring us solid winds of 25 to 35 for a few days. We are already planning ahead for this weather, considering our sail options, rigging (running and standing) and sail handling with safety strops and backups on everything, management of our crew resources, meals etc. We are looking forward to a wet, wild but fun ride to drive us into Cape Town.

Enough for today, I hope you are all enjoying your Monday (well the over 35's anyway, under 35's - no sympathy given for self inflicted pain).

Cheers,
Campbell Field.
Navigator, Sunergy & Friends

Update from movistar:

World records are there to be broken. It was evident in my opinion our record would be broken several times in this Volvo race. Well done to Moose and his boys by breaking the 24 hour monohull record at this early stage.

best regards,

Bouwe Bekking
skipper MOVISTAR, ESP 1

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