Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A high-speed collision for the Chilean team

Throughout Monday night and early Tuesday morning, the Portimão Global Ocean Race leaders continued to hammer north leaving the Virgin Islands to port with Beluga Racer and Desafio Cabo de Hornos polling speed averages of between 12-14 knots. The scene was set for an enduring fight between the German race leaders and the Chilean team in second place. Then, at 0200 GMT this morning (12/05), the Chilean boat collided with a submerged object. “We are living through the saddest moment of the race so far,” said Felipe Cubillos earlier this morning, before describing the collision: “We were planing along at 20 knots of speed in the dark when the leeward rudder struck something, snapping it in two,” he explains. With the working, submerged, rudder destroyed Desafio Cabo de Hornos span out of control. “We had the spinnaker up and without the rudder we rounded-up and went into a broach,” recalls Cubillos. “After a lot of work we got the boat under control and dropped the main, sailing with the Solent headsail only.”

Having recovered from the collision, Cubillos and Muñoz decided to head for San Juan in Puerto Rico, but by 0400 GMT, the plan had changed. “We have decided to head for Charleston,” stated Cubillos via email. “As we are missing a rudder, the job is a bit complex, but we have 1100 miles to go and we think that we can make it.” Cubillos calculates that his ETA in Charleston is seven days away and there is sufficient food supplies and water on board. “So, we haven’t dropped out of the race and we’re continuing to compete – albeit with just one rudder – and our goal is still to complete this round-the-world race.” The Chilean team our currently organising the fabrication of a replacement rudder in France and shipping the blade to Charleston in time for the start of Leg 5 from Charleston to Portimão. “I have always been enthusiastic in searching for dreams,” adds the Chilean skipper. “It is the very reason for living: it does not have to be a rational dream and that’s why we show so much persistence in obtaining them. That’s why I’m not going to write about them. I’ll just switch on my Ipod and get back on the helm.”
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