Saturday, 28 February 2009
Ericsson 4, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro. Image copyright Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Guy Salter
Pretty uneventful day onboard Ericsson 4 - that is until earlier this evening, when in the space of one hour, we had our code zero downstairs getting repaired and a huge tactical dilemma on our hands.
We had just hoisted the code zero and were still in the pack up stages of the genoa we had dropped, when there was a loud bang. The tack of the code zero had come away from the boat and now this huge free flying, overlapped genoa was flapping behind the mainsail. We dropped it promptly and went straight into hoisting the sail we had only dropped moments before. Luckily the separation wasn’t a sail failure, but we did find a few small tears in the sail and rolled it up and posted it downstairs so that Ryan (Ryan Godfrey) could work his magic with the sewing machine. Before we knew it, the small tears had been repaired and the sail was being wooled on deck so that it’s ready to go once more - this sail is usually furled up to make it manageable to hoist and drop. The one major casualty luckily was the furling unit which is well beyond repair, luckily as it could have easily damaged one of the crew and, with a sail with that much load, it would have been very serious damage!
Then, as the sail was being packed on deck, the latest sched came through to reveal a slight split in the fleet around Fiji. This has forced some tactical decisions and looking at routes and weather but there seems no reason to change our game plan. This could quite easily see the leg decided for some boats here - hopefully in our favour - after all, Fiji has been visited by many of the crew and all have very positive memories - especially Brad (Brad Jackson) who got married in Fiji - so hopefully the islands will be nice to us.
Volvo Ocean Race