Back to the North

Volvo Ocean Race boats return to the northern hemisphere

Sunday March 17th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Mark 'Crusty' Christensen reports from on board illbruck :

Life is still hot although overcast skies today have taken some of the edge off it. Groundhog day again, Tyco and ASSA ABLOY, gain, lose we just seem stuck together. Last night along came some rain, eight hours of it on and off, the breeze headed and we were fast again. Back in the lead.

Had worked our way out to a small lead only to have a slow change and lose half a mile again. The battle is on again and Tyco and ourselves are neck and neck with ASSA ABLOY just behind. We are now in the Doldrums zone but the wind is still with us. Hopefully tonight we can punch out into the northeast trades and start reaching on course. Might be our comfort zone again.

I have to take my hat off to Tony Kolb, our resident German engineer. I thought we had major problems after our collision with SEB. To me it looked like we would be unable to use our spinnaker sheeting padeye again.

To his credit, Tony assessed the situation, came up with a plan and put it in place. He removed the damaged pushpit, lashed the padeye to the back of the boat and did a thorough structural inspection. He assured us it would last but each day I come on deck it has slowly been refined. He has drilled some holes through the back of the boat to fix the lashings to and the leeward lifelines are now secure again. Yesterday the padeye came through its first major test and at this stage seems secure, time will tell.

Yesterday he also had to replace a belt tensioner on the ballast pump that had collapsed. He took the turning block that had been damaged at the back of the boat and used the bearing to replace the one that had collapsed. All systems operational again, apart from the handle on the kettle. Now if he can just find a way of re-attaching so we will be in business again.

Have to go on watch now and try and snap the bungee that is holding thethree of us together. Maybe tomorrow we will get some separation. Hopefully it is the right way.


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