Monday, 16 February 2009
Telefonica Blue, Skippered by Bouwe Bekking, undergoes emergency keel repairs overnight in Qingdao before commencing Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, after the yacht hit a rock before the start. At over 12,000 miles, Leg 5 is the longest leg ever attempted in the history of the race. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Volvo Ocean Race media
Bouwe Bekking's Telefonica Blue team has resumed racing and started leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team starts the leg in fifth place, after crossing the starting line nearly 19 hours behind the leaders.
Telefonica Blue had suspended racing just minutes ahead of the starting gun for leg five on Saturday afternoon in Qingdao (05:00 GMT), after running aground and damaging the keel before the start. Skipper Bouwe Bekking made the difficult decision to suspend racing in order to have the boat hauled out of the water to assess the extent of the damage before starting the leg.
Repairing the damaged keel. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
Fortunately for the team, tests showed the damage was not critical. The shore crew worked at a furious pace overnight to fix damage to the bulb and fin and by sunrise in Qingdao on Sunday morning, the boat was ready to be lifted into the water.
"It could have been way worse," said a relieved Bouwe Bekking. "The good news is there's no structural damage and I'm just happy that we checked it out. You don't want to go out on a leg like this where your keel or your bulb could fall off. It's good news."
With the leading boats in the fleet starting nearly 19 hours ahead, the Telefonica Blue crew will have their work cut out for them to make up for lost time.
"We are going to lose a bit more over the first couple of days, as they're always in better pressure, but hopefully they park up and we reel them back in."
Telefonica Blue resumed racing at 23:42 GMT on Saturday night (07:42 local time in Qingdao).
Leg Five Day 2: 0100 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to leader
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) 12356 DTF
Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +0nm
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +5nm
Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +29nm
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +169nm
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) DNS
Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bérmudez/ESP) DNS
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS
Volvo Ocean Race