Gurra Krantz slits his wrist

Volvo Ocean Race fleet suffers first accident of leg four

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

Mark Rudiger's e-mail

Which way to optimize through the ridge?

After a slow start for ASSA ABLOY, we are getting our speed skates back on. We were frustrated for the first 24 hours with a case of the slows. Boats seemed to be able to pass on both sides and we checked everything trying to figure out why, to no avail. One of those mysteries of the universe I guess.

But now we have set up to the west of the fleet and seem to be gaining to the south which is where we believe the best passage through the ridge will be. Currently we are gaining bearing on the boats we can see. Also, all signs indicate new pressure will come from the west, so we have that covered as well. The question is, will the extra miles we have to sail pay off before they get the pressure as well? I think so.

It was a very exciting start out of Auckland, and the most rock and reef hopping weâve done in the race so far! (Reinforcing however how beautiful the New Zealand coastlines are). Now weâre free of land and time is slowing down again. We'll miss New Zealand, but it feels good to be underway again and getting another chance to move up the leader board.

For most of us, getting through this leg of the Southern Ocean, and around the Horn, is like reaching the peak of Mount Everest. It is a moment you want to savour, but only briefly, and then you want to get the hell out of there and back down to more hospitable territory. From there, we are finally, after 23,000 miles of hard ocean sailing, heading towards home. For sure there are plenty more obstacles to overcome, but nothing quite like Cape Horn.

Every day now another layer of clothing, hats, gloves, goggles etc. will be coming out until nobody will recognize anyone or be able to understand a word they say. Any heat source onboard will become a major focus of how to get anything remotely dry. Down below becomes a haven, and one dreams of crawling in a damp but moderately warmer [sleeping] bag more than a steak dinner. For me, every degree we go south, the more my senses become acutely aware of the weather and menacing changes sometimes [only] minutes away. The hair on the back of my neck starts standing up on a regular basis. I count the hours until we can turn north again and hope we are able to run fast and safe.

But for now, we're enjoying reaching along in sunny conditions if not a little cooler.

Tomorrow, we will be trying to negotiate around the high and looking for the Roaring Forties to get us west to the Horn.

illbruck and Assa Abloy exchange tacks two days into the race

Page three and four... more pictures.

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