The real deal

Nu börjar Volvo Ocean Race bli på riktigt. Massor av trasiga segel och sjuka besättningar, Green Dragon bröt bommen och Puma fick sprickor i förskeppet. Kanske lika bra att de kan svänga vänster mot lugnare vatten inom kort…

In a short email, skipper Ian Walker/GBR said, “I am sorry to report that we have just broken our boom in a 50-knot squall. We are in the process of recovering the parts. The situation is under control with no harm or risk to anyone. We are carrying on downwind.”

PUMA LEG TWO DAY 4 QFB: received 18.11.08 1057 GMT

Not to sound like I am whinging, but I think I will anyway.

Last night sucked. OR it was great –if you are a boat builder or a sailmaker looking for work. Yikes. The proverbial ‘you know what’ hit the fan when we got about as vertical in a sailboat as you ever want to be going down a big dark wave that sort of snuck up on us. And, when going straight down a big wave the inevitable bow crash is coming into the wave in front. But this time was different. Not only did the bow crash into the wave but the prod, the bow pulpit and about 15 feet up the Asymmetric Spinnaker we had up at the time. Bang. Spinnaker in many pieces and a long night for Justin Ferris.

Fortunately, we had the broken sail down and a new sail up in about 10 minutes. And we tweaked our angle and were going faster so all good right?


About an hour later after a watch change, we found another beauty of a wave except this one had no face in front of it and —whoosh. Take off! The inevitable silence of a boat that feels like it is literally flying, followed up with a massive SMASH into the not very soft Indian Ocean. But this one was different from the other 10,872 smashes that have occurred over the past 48 hours or so.

This one had a horrid CRACK along with it. I was working with Justin on the sail at the time and had on my headlamp and ran to the bow to quickly find several cracks in our longitudinal frames in the bow section. And, for those laymen out there, essentially these frames are the spine of the boat, which doesn’t allow it to fold in half. And they also don’t allow the bow to cave in when we hit waves. Kind of important piece to the puzzle.

Well, we are better now. Seven hours later. Bow repaired thanks to Casey Smith and Mickey Muller, and the kite back in one piece thanks to Justin. All the rest of the team filling in with sailing duties and helping repair when asked. Big effort and a feeling of complete exhaustion as well as satisfaction that we are back in the game and going full speed again.

Distance lost is always painful, but I think it could have been much worse.

We are still in the hunt and thanks to the effort of all the boys, we are whole again. We aren’t exactly in the position we want to be on the racetrack any more, but time will only tell how much it costs us. I figure it cost us only about 30 miles on the racetrack.

Another painful part of this escapade is that we happened to be lit up when everything went pear shaped. Had been the best boat in a few position reports in a row and were feeling really good about our spot on the track. Oh well, part of life.

So I am looking for anything lucky at this point to kill the breakdown curse. Brought out my lucky rock, looking for a lucky dolphin to escort us and there is a lucky albatross that has been following us for about two hours. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a lucky albatross but I just invented it so it must be true. Very cool.

So my whinge is over. Sorry you had to be a part of it. I feel better getting it off my chest. The competitive side of all of us HATES to lose miles..

Time to try and make them back up.

Ken Read – skipper