Greetings from the monster hospital ward. And the hospital is not necessary
humans. Just for our beautiful boat.
At 0430 GMT this morning, we flew off yet another nice little wave and came down to another loud crack. This time not from the bow section, but in the main section of the boat. Just behind the keel frame. Three of us were having breakfast at the time and there was a bit of a stare into each other’s eyes.
“That didn’t sound good,” said Justin (Justin Ferris/NZL).
“Nope,” I said.
Nico (Chris Nicholson/AUS) added, “maybe it was just an unloaded sheet snapping up on deck?”
Justin looked down and said: “or maybe it was this large crack splitting the
main longitudinal frame?” The master of understatement, old Justin is.
So we are busted. Again. This time a bit more serious. After final analysis on the first break to the longitudinal frames in the bow a couple days ago, it took 7 hours and about 56 miles to fix. Sounded like quite a bit at the time, but we had enough pace to keep up with the leaders after the fact, and still were in a reasonable position for the scoring gate and the leg.
This one may be a bit tougher to work around though. Not only is this break in the central structure for the entire boat, but it will take quite a bit longer to put a fix on- maybe as long as 24 hours - and this time the actual fix may be a bit more of a band-aid rather than the fairly solid splint that we could put on the broken front longitudinals.
If the fix takes as long as we think, we have to re-route to Cochin. Missing most of the points that we could have gotten at the scoring gate and having to bypass the next low coming our way. Simply put, this is not good.
Capey (Andrew Cape/AUS navigator) and I are hard at work trying to see if there is a tactical solution around this in order to stay remotely in the race. We shall see. First priority is the safety of the boat and crew and because of that, we are looking to get away from the next low pressure that is coming in from behind. Which doesn’t give us many options while trying to get through the high pressure to the north.
The whole reason for riding down into big breeze in the Southern Ocean was to hook up with that second low pressure and getting around the high. With our current situation, we may be forced into the high. If that is the case, it is time to start talking about rationing food!
Not only is this a bummer for the team, but a letdown for all who have worked on the programme so far. Please understand though, that we have not given up hope onboard. Stranger things have happened. We have thousands of miles to go. And we have the most resourceful guys aboard and on shore trying to figure out the best way to tackle our situation.
There are a couple of bright spots. It has been reported from the bow area of the boat that using the toilet while going this slow is a much more pleasurable experience. Also, Ricky (Rick Deppe/GBR MCM) got a hot cup of coffee into several of us, which was a very nice treat. Especially considering the fact that for the first time in days, I didn’t spill it on myself or burn the crap out of my mouth.
And finally, the boys on deck report tons of huge Albatross circling around the boat giving a fantastic show for all.
Just hope that Albatross are not the vultures of the high seas.
Will report more soon.
Ken Read - skipper