The Volvo Ocean race is reeling from a serious security breach in the early hours of today. As the crew enjoyed a well earned party amongst the bars and clubs of Rio, the ugly side of that famous city was at work in the docks.
In Rio the rich and poor mingle cheek to jowl. Favelas and penthouse apartments are just yards apart, and the inequality breeds anger, funnelled by the gangs towards drugs and violence. Up to now muggings and robberies were the rule, but early this morning saw the most audacious of crimes - theft of an entire Volvo 70.
As Paul Cayard and crew drank the night away, cut-throats led by a well known Rio resident Mr "Long" J. Silver over-powered the security guards (which proved surprisingly simple as CCTV footage showed the so called guardians too busy practicing their tango to notice till too late) and took Pirates out to sea, jolly roger flying in the moon-light.
It would have been yet another case for Interpol, yet another boat offered in murky deals in the pubs around the Solent, if only they had not chosen a Farr hull to steal. For hearing the news there was one thought - it was all hands to ABN1.
It was quite a sight. With the fair Emma at the wheel (more Jane Russell than Keira Knightley), Mike "Moose" Sanderson led a crack team of Volvo's on a recovery mission. If the air had been lighter Silver might have had a chance, but with their greater power Black Betty over-hauled the Pirates as dawn rose, golden sky flaming red in the East.
The boarding party was led by Paul Cayard himself, knife between his teeth as he lept across the angry sea to re-claim what was his by right. There was hand-to-hand battle across Pirates deck until Long John was decked by a winch handle welded with surprising skill by one of the Ericsson crew.
By mid-day all boats were back in port and the incident was like just a dream.
3 hours ago