Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Four keels and a dismasting

Yet another casualty on the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Cape Town to Melbourne across the southern oceans. On this leg there has already been not one, not two, not three, but four of the seven boats suffering keel problem. Now Brazil has broken its mast in three places and is limping towards Australia under jury rig. With over 2,000 miles to go and the clock ticking till the next in-port race on the 4th February it looks they have no choice but to retire and head to Albany after picking up the Eclipse Island points.

This will more ammunition to the critics of the new Volvo 70. But no one will be able to say it's not been an eventful race, full of drama.

On the one hand the design has shown that monohulls can compete with multis with the 24 hour speed record raised to an amazing 563 miles. On the other a new design where only two boats have not (yet) suffered serious keel or mast failure is at the very least on a steep learning curve.

Meanwhile Pirates having tested their reparis by trying out most sail angles have settled down chasing movistar and the ABN twins towards Melbourne. With under 600 miles between Black Betty and Melbourne it seems unfair that there's a head wind between them and those longed for cold ones. As the forecast below in the figure shows, they can expect 20 knots from the north east. And they are heading, yes thats right, north east.

Pictures from Australian Bureau of Meteorology

No comments: