Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Carnage in Volvo Ocean Race

Boat email Puma Ocean Racing: Kenny Read

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 it 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. We tweaked our angle and were going faster, so all good right? Wrong. 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 than 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. For those laymen out there, essentially these frames are the spine of the boat which doesn't allow it to fold in half; they also don't allow the bow to cave in when we hit waves, a kind of important piece to the puzzle.

Well, we are better now. 7 hours later. Bow repaired thanks to Casey (Casey Smith) and Mickey (Michael Muller), and the kite back in one piece thanks to Justin (Justin Ferris). All the rest of the team filling in with sailing duties and helping repair when asked. Big efforts and a feeling of complete exhaustion as well as satisfaction that we are back in the game and going full speed again. Read more...