Stamm heads for the Falklands

Around Alone race leader to make pitstop

Monday February 24th 2003, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: Transoceanic
After much reflection and consultation upon all the options for repair open to him, Bernard Stamm is now heading for the Falkland Islands. He was less than 200 miles from Port Stanley this afternoon, which is in the southeast of the main island. “With the means I have on board, I have made a repair that will hold for about 400 miles: at the Falklands, everything is there for me to make this repair last until Bahia.”

Pierre Rolland and Denis Glehen are working on the job list for Stamm, as Catherine Rouge, Bernard’s partner, and shore team Benoît Lequin and JC Caso get the operation into action so that Bernard will arrive in port with a team ready to get to work on the boat.

Ocean racing veteran Philippe Poupon, a skipper who knows the resources of this region well, is on side to help find an effective team. The clock is ticking - this must be the shortest possible pit-stop in the knowledge that the skipper and boat will be penalised 48 hours for receiving outside assistance. Currently on 30 points after three consecutive victories, Bernard Stamm cannot afford to lose such an advantage, which he has fought so hard to gain. Thierry Dubois, his direct rival, is only 3 points behind him. So a fourth placing in this leg will in effect put Bernard on equal points with the skipper of Solidaires.

It is in light airs that Bobst Group/Armor Lux moves along at 6 knots boatspeed, the skipper estimating his arrival at Port Stanley on Wednesday morning at the latest. “I need to keep on manoeuvring the boat all the time but with some caution. I can’t push her as I’d like, as the keel is the counterweight to all the pressure taken by the rig, and it is in no state to support such big loads. At least the moderate conditions are not threatening the safety of the boat, but the race against time has begun. At 14:00GMT, Bobst Group/Armor Lux was 64 miles ahead of Solidaires, 563m ahead of Hexagon – who is stopping as well to fix the broken boom – and 565m ahead of Tiscali.

POSITIONS AT 1400GMT 24th FEBRUARY 2003

Class 1
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF

1 Bobst Group-Armor Lux 53 56.240 S 61 48.020 W 4.29 kt 56 °T 2718.30 nm
2 Solidaires 54 09.410 S 64 14.360 W 10.33 kt 34 °T 2782.71 nm
3 Hexagon 55 59.710 S 77 14.700 W 12.42 kt 97 °T 3281.21 nm
4 Tiscali 56 36.050 S 77 21.410 W 11.36 kt 98 °T 3283.71 nm
5 Ocean Planet 55 24.000 S 81 53.430 W 10.30 kt 110 °T 3441.60 nm
6 Pindar 54 53.500 S 84 04.000 W 11.13 kt 108 °T 3520.93 nm

Class 2
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America 54 02.480 S 88 31.530 W 11.23 kt 73 °T 3684.39 nm
2 Everest Horizontal 52 49.890 S 103 10.040 W 11.70 kt 94 °T 4199.67 nm
3 Spirit of yukoh 50 57.340 S 110 34.250 W 8.70 kt 90 °T 4495.26 nm
4 BTC Velocity 52 18.120 S 122 20.000 W 9.32 kt 71 °T 4840.74 nm
5 Spirit of Canada 50 44.220 S 128 25.140 W 8.77 kt 98 °T 5083.61 nm

Graham Dalton reports from on board Hexagon

Since losing my boom on Saturday, conditions in this part of the ocean have deteriorated rapidly and I am currently battling towards land in 60-70 knot winds.

It would appear that a secondary depression has formed from one of the fronts associated with the last weather system that passed over, and I am in the thick of the severe conditions at the moment.

We are less than 300 miles from the Horn and Hexagon is travelling at 14 knots under headsail alone. From down below I can feel the shock waves pass through the boat as wave after wave crashes over the deck. From the portholes all I can see is white water.

Hexagon is currently sailing with the wind on her beam, which is making the journey a little rougher than it could be. However, I do not have the option of turning and running with the storm as this would mean missing the rendezvous point I have agreed with my shore crew to make repairs. I predict that the pressure system affecting me will move on in the next 6-7 hrs and the wind will then swing round behind me. Though the wind speed may not drop, running with the wind behind is a lot more comfortable as Hexagon will not be continuously laid on her side by the large waves and gusts of wind as she is when beam reaching.

I am pleased to have this breeze as the increased speed means I will be able to have the boom repaired sooner than I had expected; however, I am nervous about suffering more damage to Hexagon due to the extreme conditions.

I have not heard from my shore crew today but assume they are well on their way to meeting me off Cape Horn. I have great faith in my team and it is good not having to worry about the equipment and materials turning up in time. It will just be there.

These are stressful times and I worry about more equipment failure. I also have to concentrate very hard on sailing the boat. I am constantly trying to think of ways I can reduce the load on Hexagon but keep the speed up. I have lashed the broken boom to the deck above me, but since the bad weather started have not been able to take a look and make sure all is well. To go on deck in these conditions would require an extreme emergency, as the risk of being swept away by a wave is high. Despite the heavy conditions I am not feeling too bad.

I am thinking a lot of my landfall at Cape Horn. I hope the conditions will have eased by then and which would make the navigation easier. I am looking forward to meeting the team, getting the work done and getting back into the race again.

Fair Winds

Graham

Position: 56°03’S 77°08’W
Wind: SW 40 knots gusting 70 at times
Barometer: 967 falling
Sea State: Rough
Cloud cover: 8/8 total cover
Precipitation: Showers

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