Licking their wounds

Not even illbruck have come away unscathed

Friday February 8th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 1005 this morning
1 illbruck 59 52.64S 087 05.20W 2923 062 12.7 - -
2 Amer One 59 25.40S 088 03.24W 2947 062 11.8 24 +6
3 Tyco 60 19.36S 087 53.00W 2952 110 13.6 29 +2
4 Assa Abloy 60 14.84S 088 55.08W 2981 106 13.5 58 -2
5 News Corp 59 05.84S 089 44.52W 2996 102 13.0 73 -3
6 djuice 60 21.48S 089 27.64W 2998 103 13.6 75 -4
7 SEB 57 29.72S 102 16.80W 3396 064 7.3 473 +37
8 Amer Too 58 01.96S 103 53.12W 3441 050 12.9 518 +23
The beating the eight boats in the Volvo Ocean Race have been taking over the last few days in their attempt to race through the world's wildest ocean is taking its toll on boats and crew. To finish it is necessary not to destroy any of the major components of your boat and to finish first it is necessary to destroy as little gear as possible. On most of the boats competitive instincts have got the better of them and no doubt with crew exhaustion playing a contributing factor, many have crossed that dangerous Rubicon starting in prudence and ending in carnage.

Yesterday's devasting news of SEB's dismasting has sent a shock wave through the fleet, although with the boats being pushed as hard as they are in the Southern Ocean conditions it was a case of 'not if, but when' a boat would break.

SEB is currently making 6-8 knots towards Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina. Meanwhile in Sweden their shore team is in the process of making arrangements to get the spare mast transported to this remote corner of the globe - a interesting piece of logistics in itself. In his report today Gunnar Krantz reports that SEB was virtually thrown on to her side and believes it was this action which caused the mast to break.

Back on the race course the potent duo of Dalton and Cayard on Amer Sports One have been consistently taking miles out of illbruck and one of the reasons is down to gear damage on the German boat. "Last night we were passed by a front, which shut down the breeze for a few hours," reported John Kostecki this morning. "We changed to one of our lighter spinnakers and then the breeze suddenly built again and we broke the sail before we could get it down. Less than an hour later we ripped another spinnaker as we wiped out in a gybe as the wind quickly built to over 30 knots.

"While all of this was going on, Nitro [Noel Drennan] (our onboard sail maker) was down below sewing on another spinnaker, which we shredded in a 45-knot squall earlier in the day. Fortunately today, we had nice sailing conditions spinnaker running in 20-30 knots and both Nitro and Rosco [Ross Halcrow] have been able to repair two of the three ripped sails."

From on board the Bermudian boat skipper Kevin Shoebridge reported that conditions had dropped right off yesterday. "We have had some amazing rides over the past few days, right on the edge stuff where a slip up driving or trimming could be very expensive. We logged a 123-mile run in six hours this morning, not bad considering we had a spinnaker down for 45 minutes of that."

While Tyco is believed to be one of the boats still in reasonable shape, Kevin Shoebridge reports that the conditions have been taking their toll on the crew. "Nipper [Guy Salter] is recovering after stitches to the eye, Dave [David Endean] has taken a good hit on the knee and has a lot of fluid gathering there," continued Shoeby from on board. "Not a lot of sleep at present in these conditions with the manoeuvres somehow being more labour intensive and time consuming."

Yesterday the boats were diving south once again back into the Screaming Sixties, but at the 1000 sked illbruck and Amer Sports One now appear to have gybed back to the north west as Tyco, Assa and djuice remain furthest south. The first boats are due to round Cape Horn on Sunday/Monday.

Assa Abloy 's Mike Joubert ducks a wet one...

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