Friday, 6 February 2009

VOR: Delta Lloyd: "We'll be back"

Delta Lloyd moored in Taiwan. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

Delta Lloyd will be a fighting force when they return to the race in Rio de Janeiro, according to skipper Roberto 'Chuny' Bermudez.

The team is currently waiting in Taiwan for a ship to deliver them to Brazil, a regrettable consequence of the severe damage they sustained on leg four.

It has left them seventh in the rankings with 12 points, but the Spanish skipper is confident they can scoop some good results in the second half of the race.

"We now have more time for preparation and it allows us to do all these (repair) jobs well," he said. "When we come back we can fight all these teams for some good results before the finish."

To achieve that ambition, changes to the boat are afoot. In addition to comprehensive repairs to the bow bulkhead, which cracked half a day before they suffered delamination in the bow, they also plan to step a new mast and introduce some new sails.

Bermudez further hinted that changes to the shore and sailing crews could be on the horizon.

"Now we have the opportunity to do a proper job and to carry through a few changes in the sailing and shore crew," he said. "We lost points and we won't round Cape Horn, but we have to think in the interest of the team. We will be back in Rio to fight with the best teams."

Despite the reality that they will now miss leg five, Bermudez does not regret the decisions taken on the trip from Singapore to China.

"I always tried to make the best decision for the future of our race," he said. "At that first attempt to cross over to Taiwan, we damaged the mainsail and wheel in 50 knots of wind. According to the forecast for the following twelve hours, the breeze would drop. We went back to the Philippines and waited for the storm to pass. The crew of PUMA did the same."

Team Delta Lloyd suspended racing before resuming their leg the next day. Bermudez added: "We had four boats ahead of us and we were close to Green Dragon. But we were fighting the weather and not the competition. The combination of a strong northern breeze, southern current and shallow water made it a rough crossing. Due to the problems with the main, we sailed carefully with the keel more to the center. It was only in the last moments that we broke the boat. We had four to eight hours to go to pass the worst part of the storm."

First the crew discovered a crack in the bow bulkhead and half a day later the delamination.

"A quick repair was no option for me," Bermudez added. "Our job list is the biggest in the fleet, as we also have a new mast and sails. To do all the work fast would be a disaster."

Volvo Ocean Race

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