Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Telefonica Blue take on water after running aground. Image copyright Gabriele Olivo/Telefonica Blue/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Gabri Olivo
What a start... After the gun the wind was flirting around each boat during the first beat upwind, giving everyone moments of glory. We managed to go through the right hand side of the course and, luckily, the wind swung right some 120 degrees and we were in the lead together with Green Dragon.
Sailing off Marstrand with so many spectators boat was just incredible, better than this, we couldn't ask. Rounding the bottom mark in first position with Puma just behind was what everyone wanted, the battle between us has just started...
Ask your worst enemy what is the worst thing you could wish someone and this is what would happen. We hit a rock doing 15kn while we were leading the fleet towards Stockholm.
The reaction was very quick; Jono Swain got the guys to furl the Code 0 while Pepe Ribes was checking the boat inside. In these circumstances you have to be quick, no time for thinking, just reacting.
After securing the boat and taking the sails down, I checked the boat down below to see the damage and quickly found out that the daggerboard had broken through the case and water was coming in. Both emergency pumps were running full throttle and the guys were bailing with everyone that they could find. A human chain was quickly formed to maximize the amount of water bailed in the smallest amount of time.
Swearing and sweating was the common factor between all of us. "Why us? We don't deserve this..." Bouwe said looking at the bulb stuck in the rock. We don't deserve it at all, not to us and not anyone else. Two police boats were trying to pull the bow sideways, but the boat didn’t want to move. We were sitting on top of the rock; we could clearly see the water, the skid mark left from the bulb 5-6 meters long.
The choppy sea wasn't helping at all; our poor lady was shaking up and down every single wave. Every hit could have been the last one. The whole boat has been stuck on the rock for the longest two hours of this race. Finally we escaped from what could have been our grave and we got set free. We now heading back to port. We have to haul the boat out of the water and check the damage. Only one message I want to give to who's reading this email, friends, families and everyone else: WE WILL NOT GIVE UP.
Volvo Ocean Race