Dinelli injured

Fondation Ocean Vital skipper suffers a suspected broken rib

Tuesday March 3rd 2009, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
After breaking his boom on Monday, Raphael Dinelli, skipper of Fondation Ocean Vital was on deck last night, looking out for a nearby ship which had been spotted on his Active Echo tracking system when he was knocked backwards by a rogue wave, landing on the deck, and twisting awkwardly as he fell.

Spending some hours in his bunk to rest, after consultation with the race doctor, it is understood he has sustained a cracked, or broken rib. Dinelli is understood to be in some pain but is continuing to work Fondation Océan Vital, making some 7.4 knots just slightly west of north this afternoon.

After detouring round two consecutive high pressure systems which have added the best part of 1000 more miles or a week to his race, American skipper Rich Wilson is finally heading in a more easterly direction, settling to a new broad reaching regime. When he spoke today, Wilson was intent on setting an optimum sail plan which will make him best progress east for the next couple of days, in stronger winds, while requiring minimal sail changes and giving him the best chance of preserving the systems and equipment for the final 1400 miles to Les Sables d’Olonne. Wilson said he is ready to be finished and to catch up with friends and family, but the forecast for him the next few days is much more favourable and he will be broad reaching.

"Well we are just going down to the third reef. We finally got around that big high pressure system and are bearing off now. We are not quite on the course but things are looking up. Yesterday morning we were flat becalmed, I turned off the pilot. We did not even have enough wind and it was necessary to roll up the Solent to keep it from slatting, so we did some circles there and it was pretty discouraging. That high pressure system was forecast to keep moving and it just stopped. It stopped right there in front of us and expanded. To a 1042 mb high, and I actually have that on the barograph. I did not know high pressures could get that high. But anyway we are finally round that and into some breeze, broad reaching and heading about 40 degrees true.

"It was very difficult. It just seemed like we were making no progress whatsoever. We had to go round two different high pressure systems, and the second one was 600 miles further north. I made no progress. Round the first high pressure there was a four day stretch when all I made was 350 miles from point to point and not even in the right direction. It has just been very discouraging, but it looks like now we should have usable winds for the next couple of days, and then just keep all the systems on the boat going.
"Yesterday we had a pilot alarm. It turned out I had to replace the primary pilot hydraulic ram with the back up ram we have, but the back up ram is marginally better.
We keep our fingers crossed for that.

"I am tired. I am ready to be there. I have a week to go probably. I am going to set up with the smaller sails and then wont have sail changes to make. It is just a question of keeping the pilots going, not having any big gybes and keeping it going.”

Meantime Norbert Sedlacek sounded positively upbeat. With less than 2,500 miles to go now, he reckons on arriving some time between the 15th and the 17th on Nauticsport Kapsch. He is well into the NE’ly trade winds, well used to life at 30 degrees of heel, but just pleased to be racking up 200-220 miles days, back to Les Sables d’Olonne.

“I am on my way to Les Sables!" the Austrian skipper reported. "It is quite okay on board at the moment. It is difficult trade winds conditions – around f4 to f5 Beaufort – from the NE. It is a little bit cloudy, 22 degrees, and tonight we have a small depression, but not too bad, maybe 30 knots for a few hours.

“It is normal for this region, banging, crashing, but the miles we do are OK. Around 200 to 220 miles in 24 hours. And every day Les Sables comes closer!.

"I am just a little bit tired, you know, how you are when you are always living in 30 degrees world, but not so bad. And now every day I start to think a little bit more what it will be like when I am back from the race, and passing the finish line. At the same time every day I will be a little bit more nervous and think about what could happen. You saw it yesterday with Raphael yesterday, every moment can happen some bad stuff, or you break an important piece. You try to think about that not too much, but it is a reality. The closer you come to the finish line, the more nervous and more stressy the situation becomes.

“Food is OK. Every day I have a nice muesli and a nice pasta, and some times the third meal is some fish, a little bit of special pasta I have saved til now, but the real good stuff I have saved for just now and so every day I have something nice.

"The boat is OK. I have enough diesel, so I can have enough power to do everything and reply to my fan-mail and stuff like that. It is a good situation.”

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