The Race - 1130 - 22/1/2001

Ed Gorman reports asTeam Adventure reaches Cape Town and Innovation Explorer hits 40 knots

Monday January 22nd 2001, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
Cam Lewis and the crew of Team Adventure are now in Cape Town where experts from the Multiplast yard are assessing the extent of the damage to the big cat. The first priority, however, are the health checks on the two injured crewmen, Michael Lundh and Jeffrey Wargo, who are being taken care of by two American doctors. While neither man is giving cause for serious concern, there is some doubt about whether both will continue if, and when, Team Adventure sets sail again.

Under the rules of The Race, crew changes are not allowed and if anyone gets off at a stopover, replacements are not permitted to join the boat. The race office in Paris says the repairs to Team Adventure's crossbeam will be carried out by two local yards, "with an estimation of two or three days work depending on the damage to the crossbeam." Special inserts for strengthening the beam are already being made.

On the way into the "Tavern of the Seas" the Team Adventure co-navigator, Larry Rosenfeld, spoke further about the incident 1,100 miles southwest of Cape Town last Friday which almost brought their race to a permanent end. "Hitting that wave was like standing in a bus going 35mph and having it hit a car doing 20mph the other way," he said. "We didn't stop altogether, but if you can imagine standing up in the bus, you can imagine how ugly it might be. Now we are all looking round the boat to see how to make it safer if crewmen are thrown forward suddenly. We are removing all sharp protrusions and looking for things to add so people can brace themselves, particularly in the starboard hull where the companionway leads to the open galley."

Out on the raceourse, Grant Dalton and the crew of Club Med are still flying along towards their rendevous with the Cook Strait, averaging over 20 knots in the past 24 hours. As the big blue cat with the bikini-clad women on her bows roars along towards the Prince Edward Islands, she has headed slightly further north to avoid the shallower water over the Atlantic-Indian Ridge where big seas might slow her down.

Club Med's lead over second-placed Innovation Explorer, skippered by Loick Peyron, is now around 673 miles. Peyron and co came perilously close to disaster at 45 degrees south when they skimmed past an iceberg in visibility of just 250 metres. Crewman Roger Nilson spotted it just in time, enabling helmsman Jean-Baptiste Saliou to turn hard to port as Peyron himself and two other crew sheeted the sails hard in. Earlier, when Julien Cressant was at the wheel, Innovation Explorer briefly hit 40.4 knots.

While the leaders are perfectly in phase with the Southern Ocean depressions, Tony Bullimore and Team Legato are still being held by the South Atlantic High and are now a cool 3,350 miles behind Club Med at 20 degrees south. The Polish crew on Warta-Polpharma are currently 900 miles ahead of Bullimore off Inaccessible Island and sailing in a narrow corridor of south-southeast wind as they try to escape light airs barring their route to the east.

The Race is now 22 days old. There is an interesting parallel between the performance of Lewis in Team Adventure and Yves Parlier in Aquitaine Innovations in the Vendee Globe. In both races their respective opponents believed they were trying to push too hard and at an unrealistic pace. In the Vendee, Michel Desjoyeaux said as much about Parlier while Dalton both predicted it of Lewis before the start and then reported it when it happened on the racecourse. In both cases the pushers have come to grief and their rivals have enjoyed a certain feeling of vindication, all of which underlines that winning on the round-the-world course is as much about going fast as preserving your boat.
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.

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