The Race - 0900 - 29/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Innovation Explorer hits the brakes and Cam finally finds a gear

Monday January 29th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Things have not been so simple for Team Adventure (orange) of late, but after completing the repair and getting back to sea they have finally cleared the high pressure, clunked it into gear and got moving. It looks like Warta Polpharma's (yellow) grip on third place is easing quickly. Both boats face a tricky weather situation, with a big low pressure system approaching from the west, and a blocking high in front of them. Cam Lewis commented last night, "Some bad weather is chasing us and we must use caution to escape the big winds close to the
center of the overtaking low pressure system."

Fleet at 0700, 29/1/01

But Lewis cheered himself with the thought that Innovation Explorer will definitely be stopping, "Just in from one of our agents ashore is news that our white sistership Innovation Explorer will be stopping in Wellington, New Zealand for sure. Special agents spread around the globe continue to update us on weather and the conditions of our competitors. Now it is up to us to do our best to shorten the lead." Shorten will be all they can do, even with Peyron taking a 48 hour trip to the stop-over sin bin, Lewis isn't going to close a gap of just under 3,000 miles.

Nor will the short-handed crew help, Lewis added, "We are now ten in our crew ... All the team are showing some fatigue and it will take a day or two to get back in the cycle of watches and to take up the slack of the jobs the others used to do ... Picking up on the work load is taking some new organization. A couple of tasks that take time are the video and photo work, especially sending the edited files out." This was formerly Rick Deppe's job, and he left the boat in Cape Town, along with the two injured crew and one other 'refusnik'.

Team Adventure's co-navigator, Larry Rosenfeld, and Lewis' partner in the project, reported on the details of the damage and the repairs that were made during the stopover. "The repairs took longer than first anticipated," Rosenfeld said. "However, the boat was restored to better than new. The damage was to the underside of the main crossbeam on the starboard side of the mast.

"A wave hit the boat while we were sailing at about 30 knots. The impact broke the inboard bulkhead inside the main beam (theoretical breaking strength - 19 tons). The bulkhead buckled on a line right through the access hatch.

"In addition there were stiffeners that had been added to reinforce the skin, following on a similar problem experienced by Club Med last summer in its transatlantic crossing. Three stiffeners were broken on each side of the bulkhead and the outboard three stiffeners next to the hulls were also separated from the skin.

"The skin was delaminated (core failure) in an area around the broken bulkhead - probably caused by the weakened condition of the support structures inside.

"Repairs were made to each of the six bulkheads to strengthen them and prevent buckling. The stiffeners have been tied back into the back wall of the beam (the strongest part of the beam) with sections of carbon tubing (windsurfer masts) so they can act as further impact resistance, sharing the load with the bulkheads, rather than stiffening the skin and putting more load on each bulkhead.

"The outer skin was cut away in a section about six meters square and the core was replaced with high density foam and a new outer skin laminated." That's a serious amount of work, let's hope Lewis and his crew won't be testing the structure quite so severely this time into the Southern Ocean.

Standings (at 0700 GMT, 29/1/01)

1 Club Med 0
2 Innovation Explorer +871.4 nm
3 Warta Polpharma +3668.8 nm
4 Team Adventure +3754.2 nm
5 Team Legato +5,680.8 nm

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