Saturday, January 24, 2009

Conditions have been horrendous...VOR

Sander Pluijm/Team Delta Lloyd/VolvoOcean Race
With conditions in excess of 50 knots and over 10 metre seas reported, the fleet have received a battering as they sail through the Straits of Luzon. This morning Green Dragon reported some structural damage to the bow of the boat. The boat has suffered damage to the forward ring frame, which the crew will have to try to reinforce and then re-bond to the hull. Skipper Ian Walker has taken the decision to head inshore, to assess the damage and affect repairs. Current forecasts suggest that conditions will start to ease over the next 36 hours allowing a more favourable weather window from which Green Dragon hopes to be able to hook into and carry onto Qingdao.

Green Dragon is approximately 1000 miles from Qingdao and they have anchored in a harbour just north of Vigan. They are not alone in their decision to seek shelter as the majority of the fleet head inshore to ride out the storm force conditions. Other boats have also reported damage onboard including PUMA who have suffered a broken boom, and Delta Lloyd who have suspended racing with a damaged steering wheel, ripped mainsail and a damaged mast track and are also seeking shelter in the same bay as Green Dragon

“The conditions have been horrendous as we have tried to cross the Straits of Luzon, we have seen conditions in excess of 45 knots and a very aggressive sea state. With the existing damage to the forestay and the structural damage to the bow we have made the decision to turn in towards the Philippine coast to seek shelter. Our intention is to make some repairs and get underway. We have some materials and some know-how and we will use a bit of ingenuity,” Ian Walker, Skipper Green Dragon.