Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oops, they did it again

The start of the second offshore leg is looking a lot like the start of the first with two boats already turning back to Cape Town with structural problems. In the early hours of this morning Ericsson reported hearing a great bang which after investigations proved to be a broken keel ram piston rod. Then just after sunrise Brazil reported a crack in its hull near the cockpit, and turned its course to the north.

The fleet had been battling upwind in strong winds that contrasted with the light winds of the start. These Volvo boats are engineered using material such as carbon fibre to be as light weight as possible - good for speed but it makes sailing close hauled in heavy seas punishing for crew and boat alike.

But at least these breakages happened close to land. In a few days time the boats will be a thousand miles from any land and escape from the ceaseless pounding of wind and wave.

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