Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race

Camper bowman injured

As Telefonica begins her turn to the east in the Volvo Ocean Race

Tuesday November 22nd 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Shortly before Puma's dismasting yesterday, Camper's South African bowman Mike Pammenter was injured when, during a sail change, he was swept off his feet by a wall of water and collided with the shrouds, with the full impact being felt by his mouth.


Trailing blood, Pammenter staggered below where he was attended to by race veterans and medics Tony Rae and Stu Bannatyne. Pammenter’s front tooth was completely smashed out and he cut his lip. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet, saving him from worse injury.

“The comforting thing for sure was seeing Tony go about his role as the medic on board,” said Camper’s MCM Hamish Hooper. “Not too many people could suture up an open lip and inject a tooth nerve with anaesthetic on a Volvo Open 70 in the middle of a South Atlantic low-pressure system. True heroics.”

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

Despite this drama, Camper only conceded two miles to race leader Telefónica. With Puma now retired from this leg folowing her dismasting, so the Spanish team might be thinking of throttling back a little with a 94 mile advantage over Camper.

This morning Telefonica is due east of the high (around 500 miles from its centre) and will shortly begin to turn her bow to the southwest. Unfortunately she won't be heading directly at Cape Town soon as in 24 hours time the high shifts east. However since yesterday the forecast for the movement of the high has changed. Instead of the bulk of it slipping into the Indian Ocean the forecast is now showing that over the course of Thursday it melds with a new area of high pressure forming off the South American continent.

By this time the Volvo Ocean Race leaders will be on to the Southern Ocean rollercoaster at aroundn 38°S, riding the 30 knot northwesterlies preceeding a front. The question is - will Groupama, now just 273 miles astern, be able to get through before the two area of high pressure merge and the door closes? We reckon that they can just about. 

For the moment Groupama's Australian trimmer/helmsman Phil Harmer reports good reaching conditions, with boat speed varying between 17 and 24 knots. “The guys are doing a great job of sailing the boat fast,” he said. “Our boat really enjoys these conditions. It’s a lot of fun sailing, but it also very wet, but that is part of the game. We have another day or so of this and then finally we will get the spinnaker up again hopefully and we get closer and closer to Cape Town every day. Everything is happy on Groupama 4.”

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