Hatfield mkaing progress

From Brzsil, Mary Ambler reports on the latest from Around Alone

Friday March 21st 2003, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield has sent in his progress report “from World’s End” as he calls Ushuaia, less than 80 miles away from Cape Horn, where dismasted Open 40 Spirit of Canada is being rebuilt in record time to complete Around Alone Leg 4 from Tauranga, NZ to Salvador, Brazil. The team is working 14hr days, repairing the keel and rebuilding the hydraulic ram, rewelding the stanchions, cleaning leaked diesel fuel out of the interior and reorganising the cabin after the rollover.

Hatfield explains the process of repairing the ram in his log: “The challenge was to remove the hydraulic ram from the boat without actually taking the boat out of the 9 C water. To do this, Spirit of Canada was motored to the side of a ship where the ram was removed, flooding that section of Spirit of Canada that houses it. After the 140lb ram was wrestled from its mounts, it was hoisted onto the ship with a crane where the engineers took it apart and replaced the seals and rebuilt the entire ram. This whole operation took about 15 hours over two days.” Hatfield goes on in his report to say that the engine cover, which broke loose from its brackets, pucnhed a hole in the fibreglass coach roof before landing in the Nav station and crushing the Mini M sat phone. Remarkably the windows were not damaged in the event.

The new mast, organised by King-Harken in Buenos Aires, is set for delivery on 28th March, and must be trucked 3500 kms for 3 days to get to Ushuaia. Hatfield is confident of his departure date: “We are hoping that once the mast is here, I will be sailing within 4 days.” Hatfield went on to list the arrangements for the new rigging: “The new sails are coming from Quantum in Toronto, runners from Aramid Rigging in Newport, rope from Marlow in England, computer hard drives from Conneticut, electronics from Raymarine in New Hampshire, jib furlers and a mainsail battcar system from Harken USA, standing rigging from Denmark, various parts and boat pieces from Genco Marine in Toronto and electrical components from Thornton Marine Electric in Oakville. Each piece is critical to bringing the boat back to life.”

Raymarine has been supporting Derek Hatfield, as well as testing latest autopilot technology on Spirit of Canada. Alistair Hall, Technical Support Engineer for Raymarine, has been working closely with Derek: “Derek has proven to be an excellent ambassador for Raymarine and it's with this in mind that Raymarine have agreed to supply all the necessary parts that were damaged. Most of the equipment was lost or damaged when Spirit of Canada's mast snapped and Derek had to cut it free to avoid further damage. The rest of the equipment survived. This in itself speaks volumes for how reliable the ST60 instrument range is, and new generation autopilots are in a container from Canada this week. Raymarine's Technical support team in the USA is ensuring that all goes smoothly.”

Finally Derek wishes to express his gratitude to everyone who has helped him to rebuild Spirit of Canada and keep him racing in Around Alone: “We are extremely thankful for ongoing support from Andrew Pindar of Pindar Group, Al Power of Decoma International, Belinda Stronach of Magna International, Murray McKercher of InfoComm Canada, and Gordon Crowe of Gordon Crowe Associates. Along with these supporters, there are literally hundreds of individuals who have worked nonstop to raise the awareness of the Spirit of Canada Challenge. A special thanks to Josh Hall, Ann Harley, Brian Chapman, Peter MacAuley and Luis Viera who provide ongoing support via fundraising efforts, website and logistical support. Without all this support from the various parts of the world, I’m afraid that Spirit of Canada would be spending a long lonely winter here at the World’s End.”

American skipper Bruce Schwab eventually crept across the finish line in Salvador on Open 60 Ocean Planet at 13:12:50 GMT (10:12:50 local time) after spending 3 hours drifting backwards within sight of the line under squally skies. Taking 5th place in Leg 4 of Around Alone, Schwab is in good shape to complete the race. He was able to take advantage of the boat’s narrow beam to sail to windward much better than the rest of the class in the torturous South Atlantic conditions – something which could be an advantage in the last leg too.

“The last few days were great - I was far enough east to have a good wind angle and we made great speed. It was just a huge disappointment when my boom broke for the second time, but the people in the Falklands were just great. We did a good job fixing the boat and the boom, knowing that it was a long trip from there to Brazil, and also knowing that it would be hard to do the work here in Salvador. The boom is in good shape now. I have reasonable work list, but nothing major.”

Tim Kent on the Open 50 Everest Horizontal is still 58 miles away from the end of this leg – fighting the 2 knot current and fickle breeze off Salvador. He is expected to arrive in Salvador at the end of the day and is set to score his third 2nd place finish in a row. Kent is looking forward to stepping on dry land again: “I have been living with the constant stress of having no true forestay holding up the rig for over four weeks, almost the entire leg. A lot of the decisions I have made, while not based on this reality, were colored by it. I am exceedingly fortunate not to have been dismasted when the forestay failed.”

Meanwhile, 250 miles behind, Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of yukoh is finding his phlegmatic nature being tested to the max by the consistently unpredictable weather conditions. “I am still struggling to achieve even 100mile days and sailing to windward is proving not to be one of Yukoh's strengths. For some reason we are not getting the forecasted east winds that the files say should be here. Nearly all the wind we have is NNE or NE, the direction we want to go. Mmmm…please just a bit of wind in from a direction we can use!”

Alan Paris on BTC Velocity has breached the 1000m barrier and is also having his patience tested in the 92 degree heat and northerly winds, which come with thunderbursts and then disappear. However, he has been testing his D1 jury rig whilst on starboard tack for 20 hours in 5 – 19 knot headwinds. “Nerve racking to say the least as each bounce off a wave and crash in the trough had me looking up at the mast. I have come to a way of measuring the stiffness of the mast by looking at the non-loaded D1. If it flexing too much, then I reduce sail or ease the sheets some. This is not the fastest way to get to Salvador, always being de-powered; however, the alternative is not one I want to consider. Arriving with no mast.”

POSITIONS AT 1400GMT 21ST MARCH 2003

Class 1 Leg 4 Provisional Results
1 Solidaires – 10pts
2 Bobst Group-Armor Lux - 9pts
3 Tiscali – 8pts
4 Pindar – 7pts
5 Ocean Planet – 6pts

Class 2
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America – 10pts
2 Everest Horizontal 13 55.550 S 38 17.430 W 5.95 kt 2 °T 58.74 nm
3 Spirit of yukoh 18 00.710 S 38 09.310 W 4.83 kt 359 °T 303.13 nm
4 BTC Velocity 28 06.020 S 39 29.120 W 6.54 kt 76 °T 909.57 nm
5 Spirit of Canada 54 49.160 S 68 14.210 W 0.00 kt 0 °T 2907.03 nm

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