Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Green Dragon working to repair damaged boom

[Source: Green Dragon Team] The crew are all safe and are in contact with their shore team. At the time of the incident they were 1500 miles from Mauritius. The crew have assessed the damage to the boom and are working towards constructing a temporary boom in order to stay on track towards India. This involves the crew attempting to repair it with splints etc made from bunks and other pieces of the boat. This is a huge set back for the team, but they are confident that they have a strong boat and with lighter airs forecast for the rest of the leg, they are hoping that they may still be able to salvage some points on the leader board. At present they are heading downwind and maintaining 20 knots of boat speed, 37 miles from the current leader PUMA. The current plan is to repair the boom when they reach the equator, for the time being the Leg is anything from over.

The Green Dragon shore team have a new boom on standby and are looking into options to meet the boat at another port if the crew are unable to repair the current boom at sea.

Skipper Ian Walker explains what happened

Explain what happened
“Well they say bad things always happen in three, we had our two earlier incidents with the split in the daggerboard case and out involuntary Chinese gybe and we’ve had a pretty good period since then. There have been a series of squalls rolling in; we were about 40 degrees south I think, with these squalls rolled in. We had just been furling up the spinnaker, when the squalls came along. Most of them had peaked in the mid thirties, we were sailing along at about 30 knots and we got hit by a bigger squall and it was momentarily 50 knots, and then a huge bang and boom broke. So that was that really”.

What exactly is the damage?
“Well the boom is in two pieces!! I can’t put it much clearer than that. The boom just snapped in half about 3 metres from the outboard end, it was all quite docile as soon as the gust past and we were able to salvage all the bits, and we are now sailing along just loose fitted with no boom. We have the spinnaker back up and we are making good progress towards the scoring gate as best we can. We have the boom down below and we are trying to work out if and how we can do any repairs. At the same time we’re trying to work out what are the options on picking up our spare boom, which is currently sitting in Holland”.

What’s the early gut reaction onboard?
“I guess, well funnily enough the first thing we are trying to work out is that if we fix the boom down below whether we will be able to get it back out of the hatch! Which would be rather amusing if we did fix it and then couldn’t get it out the hatch. My initial reaction is we will probably soldier on like this, I think for us to divert to any place be it Mauritius or The Reunion Islands, will probably take us as much time putting us last in the race, we’d probably be better off just soldiering on to India. But much of it depends on the conditions. Obviously downwind we can sail ok, upwind is going to be very difficult”.

Is everyone onboard ok?
“Everyone is fine, absolutely fine, there was no risk once he had stopped the thing flying around. You know everyone is really disappointed as we were doing really well. We were well positioned looking pretty solid for third at the scoring gate, which I think we are still on for, but it is going to be hard to hang onto it. Naturally we are very disappointed because we now have a very long, however far it is. I dare to look, but it has got to be four or five thousand miles sailing, which is going to take a long time without a boom”.

Damian Foxall doesn’t seem to have much luck going past Cape Town, how has he taken the news?
“Well look on the bright side we’re not heading back to Port Elizabeth which is what he normally does! Everyone is very professional, we are all disappointed, we are all upset but what can you do, the boom is broken and our job is to fix it and keep the boat gong as fast as possible in the mean time”.

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