Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Depressing times onboard Ericsson 3 as they hit whale and break daggerboard

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] It is extremely frustrating times onboard Ericsson 3. We can't really let go of the thought that we were in the lead and then, suddenly, we hit a whale and after that everything has been going bad. We lost three positions to the scoring-gate and after that we have lost even more. Like everyone of the front runners to the gate we have lost a lot to the boats who were in the back of the fleet before the gate. The explanatio is that they didn't bother about racing for the gate but were heading straight for goal.

Yesterday, after we made the first tack since the crash, we hoisted the port daggerboard and had a good thorough look and found that it was pretty badly damaged. For sure that had slowed us down a lot.

Ericsson 3 suffers from broken daggerboard. North Atlantic Ocean, 20 May 2009. Video Ericsson Racing Team

Luckily we brought our spare daggerboard, a decision that was made very close to the start, and it took us one hour to change. We are of course going better now but we had already lost a lot and we still have some damage in the front of the bulb, which may not have a big effect but it is for sure not positive for the performance.

It is still very depressing weather with thick fog and grey sky. We are in the waters were the famous Titanic went down on it's maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. It was a British passenger liner, the largest ship in the world when it was built and supposedly unsinkable But it struck an iceberg around the area where we are in april 1912 and sank with the loss of 1,490 lives.

Like the history and weather of this area weren't depressing enough we have have had a disastrous last 24 hours. We have been tacking I think four times and it has been a lot of furling and unfurling the Mast head zero. At one stage we were down to seven knots of boatspeed.

This calm weather feels very strange since I was expecting this to be a very rough leg. So far it has mostly been very calm and the working environment for the mediaman has been a bit cold but in total very comfortable, almost dull. I guess that those words will bite back and that the wind will soon hit us with furious anger. Actually I think that would be good since we usually are fast in the big stuff.

Back to reality: Last sched we lost to everyone in the fleet and our navigator Aksel Magdahl was not very happy about the situation. He is a realist and, unfortunately for now, he is usually right about things and it is depressing that he has said that it really doesn't look good for us. Hopefully he was just tired and grumpy like only navigators can be.

Luckily we have others onboard that are extremely optimistic. We are never giving up so do not count us out. Like Magnus Olsson always keep saying: "Everything can happen in sailing and hockey".

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