Monday, October 13, 2008

Telefonica Blue sets sail after stop in Algeciras

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Bouwe Bekking’s men have completed repairs to their damaged steering system are back on the race track, where overnight, the fleet compressed heading into the Atlantic.

The Telefonica Blue crew raised their mainsail at 06:17 GMT and the team proceeded to their last racing position where they resumed racing at 06:53 after serving their minimum 12 hour pit stop penalty.

"The problem is absolutely fixed, we’re back up and running," said skipper Bouwe Bekking as his boat eased back towards the race course. "The rest of the boats are maybe about 100 miles ahead of us, but we’re looking forward to getting out there and trying to catch them up.

"How do I feel? Not very happy, but we have to carry on and see if we can claw back all the lost miles. Still a long way to go, and we know we can sail now optimal again.

Telefonica Blue in the Algeciras port in order to carry out the necessary repairs. Algeciras, 12 October 2008. Photo copyright Dave Kneale / Volvo Ocean Race

"We were moored overnight in between all the big container ships, as the marina was closed, because of all the damage a big storm caused two days ago over here. The shore crew have done an excellent job.

"They set up a temporary workshop, and had a car full of tools with them. Just after arrival we had a short chat with them, and their wish was to do all the work themselves, and they send us off to a local hotel for a couple of hours of sleep.

Back at the boat at 0630, and they shore crew was just washing the decks off. Well done everybody. We can imagine that the Ericsson boys are feeling sick, as they had an excellent first day, but now got caught up again by the rest."

Conditions are light, with the wind just 4 to 6 knots and the sea flat. The team still has to negotiate the tricky Strait of Gibraltar before reaching the Atlantic where Bouwe and his crew will have their work cut out for them as they attempt the long crawl up the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet has passed through the Straight of Gibralter and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Overnight, the fleet compressed dramatically, with the two Ericsson squads seeing their hard-won lead slowly evaporate.

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