Gurra Krantz slits his wrist

Volvo Ocean Race fleet suffers first accident of leg four

Tuesday January 29th 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: Transoceanic

This close after two days racing

Gurra Krantz last night became the first casualty of the leg four, cutting his wrist on a sharp knife. "In one of the tacks, when moving all the gear, I injured myself on a knife accidentally sticking out of a bag with tools," reported Krantz from onboard SEB. "It looked a bit messy for a while, but after treatment by Doctor Kessel I was fine again. The cut on my wrist was actually glued together with superglue."

Strange though it may sound, the use of superglue to repair a cut is not unusual even in hospital emergency departments. On a dimly lit pitching V.O.60 it is the preferred solution to all but the most major injuries and much easier than putting in stitches.

From a racing view point, the battle to get around the high pressure is the main issue. The system is centred near Chatham Island, now approximately 200 miles to the south east of the fleet. It is expected to gradually extend towards the east today, giving more light and variable winds.

The big dilemma now for the navigators is how far south to go. And haven't we heard this story before somewhere. A southerly route involves more miles but the prospect of stronger winds sooner. Grant Dalton on Amer Sports One confirmed the dilemma . "Everyone is headed south as fast as they can to skirt around high pressure," he says. "The only question has been how hard to dive, as it creates more miles but gives better breeze."

There may be more than 6000 miles to go, but at the front of the fleet, the racing resembles nothing so much as a Sunday morning round the cans race. The leading three boats are all in sight of one another and have been trading tacks, crossing just a few boat lengths apart.

Such close sailing gives a perfect opportunity to judge the relative performance of the boats. Kevin Shoebridge from Tyco feels that illbruck might have a slight boat speed edge as she has now taken the lead position, "Everyone looks pretty even with illbruck perhaps having a slight edge in these conditions," he said from onboard. However, less than a mile separates the three leading boats and News Corp, SEB, Assa Abloy and djuice all remain extremely close.

Hardened professionals though they may be, there has been a hint of sadness at leaving land behind once again, perhaps tinged by anxiety at the prospect of the Southern Ocean sleigh ride ahead. Native New Zealander, Ross Field summed it up well. "Sad to round East Cape and slowly move out of sight of land knowing that some of us won't be back in New Zealand for a long time. We had a fantastic stay in Auckland and it's always hard to leave."

Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 3, 0357 GMT
1 ILBK 6302 179 11 239 0 -1
2 TYCO 6302 179 10.9 237 0 0
3 AONE 6302 180 10.9 238 0 0
4 NEWS 6305 180 10.7 238 3 1
5 TSEB 6306 179 10.7 236 4 0
6 AART 6308 176 11.1 239 6 -3
7 DJCE 6309 178 10.7 234 7 0
8 ATOO 6328 170 10.5 219 26 -4

Page two... Mark Rudiger's e-mail
Page three and four... more pictures.

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