The Race - 2030 - 19/3/01

Warta-Polpharma pulls out with a big crack in the port hull

Monday March 19th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Warta-Polpharma has pulled out of The Race after a large crack appeared in the port hull. The crew that have captured the attention and admiration of the whole of Poland are devastated that they will not be in Marseille, which was an estimated 10 days' sailing away.
At 2100 GMT Sunday 18 March, the crew of Warta-Polpharma heard a tremendous crack. A message came from the stricken vessel: "We don't know what happened exactly, we were sailing normally in
medium wind conditions. After hearing this loud noise, we carried out an inspection of the boat.

"The deck of the port hull had cracked just two metres ahead of the main beam. We immediately dropped sail and relieved the hull by turning round 180°. We got ready to eventually abandon ship in case the crack got worse, but happily nothing of the sort happened. We used spare battens which we have laminated to bring the two parts of the hull together.

"However it was evident that we could not continue to beat to windward so our only solution was to head for Brazil. We are in contact with our shore team to find the most suitable port for making our anticipated repairs, most importantly some equipment for hauling out the boat."

But all is not lost. Just a week ago, skipper Roman Pazke had commented: "Nothing will ever be the same in Poland now for us, we have opened another way for the others. We hope to gain a
following and provoke some changes in this sport that has not been very well known until now."

Everybody in Marseille is very sad for Warta-Polpharma: "This operation has demanded a great deal of energy and personal investment from each member of this team," said Jean-Yves Bernot. "I think that sailing close to the Brazilian coast during their climb up must have weakened the boat, which had already been put to the test by the very hard conditions encountered at Cape Horn."

The Race continues for Team Adventure whose crew are all smiles again now that they have 25/30 knots of wind propelling them along at about 20 knots average. With just 409 miles to go to the Straits of Gibraltar, Team Adventure should reach Marseilles sometime on 23 March.

Team Legato is making 16 knots in a difficult sea and is doing everything to cross the Equator as quickly as possible, even if the boat does not have much hope of finishing before 2 April. Tony and all his crew are very sorry for the Poles and hope all the same that they can finish their circumnavigation after repairs to the boat.

Leading positions at 1430 GMT 19/3/01

1. Club Med Finished Marseilles 19:56GMT 3.03.01
2. Innovation Explorer Finished Marseilles 11:32GMT 6.03.01
3. Team Adventure 1560 miles
4. Warta Polpharma 3040 miles
5. Team Legato 4830 miles

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