The Race - 1130 - 19/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Cam Lewis and Team Adventure head for Cape Town

Friday January 19th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Another one bites the dust today, as Cam Lewis heads north for Cape Town, structural failure occurring on Team Adventure after they launched her off a wave. After satellite phone consultation with the builder and designers (Multiplast and Gilles Ollier) Lewis reckons that his boat can be fixed, and a support team is on their way down to Cape Town to analyse the situation once Team Adventure arrives.

It seemed yesterday that the intensity of the competition between Lewis and Grant Dalton aboard Club Med was forcing them both to drive their boats at the absolute limits. "We notched up 614.7 miles in 24 hours at 25.61 knots average," Cam Lewis had written early yesterday morning. Just a handful of miles short of the record 24 hour run, achieved by Club Med in trade wind conditions last year.
And as daylight broke yesterday Dalton and his crew noticed a worrying failure up front: "The constant pressure of water on the trampolines has broken the lashing that holds them in place, right about where the net attaches to the front of the forward beam and the port hull.

"The staysail was lashed down to the net at this point and I suppose the constant water pressure on it was what caused the lashing to fail. It happened during the night and luckily no one went over there to change anything as they would probably have fallen through the net and into the sea. Other than that the only damage we have sustained is the 100 or so miles Cam has taken out of us over the last couple of days." The Southern Ocean had begun its war of attrition, but neither man seemed ready to give an inch.
And then at 1428 GMT yesterday Team Adventure announced to the race committee, "We crossed our first iceberg at 45°41 South and 4°11 West. Please advise the other boats." Driving to the limit, both Club Med and Team Adventure were straying a long way south, close to an intense low pressure system that was forming beneath them. But even as I was asking the question yesterday morning - when or if they would gybe - Dalton was doing it.

"We have just gybed onto port and the speed is hovering between 27 and 32 knots now. We are really getting across the ocean fast on this boat. The sea will build now and we should get a real sleigh ride. We are about to see what this boat is really like in the true Southern Ocean." reported Dalton.

Point at which Lewis appeared to turn northHe continued, "We are going to pull this thing along over the next few days. We don't want to be anywhere near the middle of this big low. There's 50 knots deep inside it so we'll climb away to the north a bit. This is the first time we've ever run in waves with a gennaker set. So far we seem to be able to handle it pretty well. We've stuck the bows in once but it wasn't anything to make me think about changing my life insurance policy."

We can see the point at which they both gybed to port yesterday morning in the image (above) and just how close that brought them to the low pressure to their south. This is the point at which Lewis (orange) appeared to start to turn north for Cape Town, though he didn't report the damage until just before midnight GMT last night. Club Med (light blue) was even further south at that stage and must have been in unbelievable conditions.
continued on page two

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