Sunday 2 November 2008

VOR: Ericsson 4 sets new speed record; Telefonica Black suffers damage

by Volvo Ocean Race media

On 29th October 2008 at 1854 GMT, Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) broke through the magic 600 nm barrier, when she extended her historic 24-hour run to reach 602.66 nm, however, as with all sailing records, the exact distance will have to ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council before it can be made official.

Grael and his crew, which is one man short since Tony Mutter was taken off the boat at the Cape Verde islands last week with an infected knee, have been pushing the boat hard for well over 24 hours. They first toppled the record of 562.96 nm set by Sebastian Josse and the crew of ABN AMRO TWO in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race at 0355 GMT this morning with a run of 566.57nm. They raised the bar repeatedly and, by 1300 GMT, 593 miles were on the board as the magical 600-mark grew nearer. By 1425 GMT, they had clocked 594.23nm as they moved onwards and upwards.

Guy Salter, MCM onboard Ericsson 4 said tonight, “It’s not everyday you get to have a ride as we have had over the past day or so. To get a new 24-hour record has been superb, but the reality of that feat out here hasn’t really sunk in. We know we have a record but what is more on the fella's minds is getting to Cape Town and hopefully at the front of the pack, avoiding damage to ourselves and the yacht. All the boys look really drained - sleep is not the easiest on Ericsson 4 – I can only describe the motion as I would imagine re-entry on the space shuttle is like.”

Meanwhile, further back in the fleet, the westerly gale continued to whip up seas in excess of eight metres. Sailing at around 25 knots, Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) launched off a particularly large wave, momentarily lost control of the boat and crash landed only to find that one of the rudders had sheared off and part of a daggerboard and the bowsprit were gone. None of the crew was injured and the damage to the yacht was quickly assessed. The crew has mounted an emergency rudder and are continuing on course to Cape Town, albeit rather more slowly.

Telefónica Syndicate Head, Pedro Campos, said that the safety of the crew was the first priority and reported that all are well and unhurt. He confirmed that the damage to the yacht was not thought to be structural in any way but, understandably, the crew is very disappointed to have to nurse the yacht into Cape Town. He praised the crew for their professionalism and the seamanlike manner in which they dealt with the situation.

Volvo Ocean Race

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