Ian Walker: Arrived in Chile - but how to get to Itajai?

Ian Walker: Arrived in Chile - but how to get to Itajai?

Thursday April 5 2012 Author: Ian Walker ADOR Location: none selected

It was with some relief that we spotted land today. It came as even more of a relief when we turned into the fjord – the ‘Golfo Corcovado’ – and finally had the peace and quiet of flat water.

For four days now we have been sailing as fast as we dare and putting up with the cracking and banging of the carbon struts that were once our bunks, but are now the struts supporting the damaged hull from inside.

These struts are quite thin walled carbon and were slowly falling apart with every crack being felt by those onboard. We have been listening intently for crunching noises – signs of further degradation of the hull core – but it seems to have mostly held firm.

It is now the middle of the night and we have 100 miles to sail north up a fjord (the largest in the world apparently) to our destination Puerto Montt. Awaiting us there will be our diligent shore crew who are ready to step aboard and assess the damage. The sailing team are looking forward to a shower and a decent meal. No doubt there will be a few loved ones that will be happy to receive a phone call.

Who would have thought we would end up in Chile? Certainly not me, but not much more can surprise me in this Volvo Ocean Race. The disappointment may be etched on our faces right now but boy are we going to have some stories to tell in a few years’ time. As the expression goes ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and our team has definitely grown stronger by overcoming the challenges of this leg.

Whilst we have had our own little game trying to catch up with CAMPER, we have all been looking on with envy at the real race going on in the Atlantic Ocean. What a fantastic race the leaders are having and how we wished we were part of it. That is why we all want to do the Volvo Ocean Race.

Always trying to find a bright side, we laughed today that we were closer to the leaders now than we have been at any stage since the end of week one –the only problem is we have the Andes in the way! This remains our problem. Itajaí is only 1500 miles away as the crow flies, but it is nearly 3000 miles by sea around Cape Horn. How do we fix our boat and get it 3000 miles to Itajaí in time for an in-port race in 17 days’ time?

Hopefully this is a conundrum we can solve in the next 24 hours.

Photos below by Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

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