Getting Puma to a safe haven after she was dismasted was just the start, the real challenge is to stay in the race
Puma may have pulled out of Leg 1 and into Tristan island, but the race to stay in the race is one that has increased the stress levels for all the team, not least the team’s general manager Kimo Worthington.
The Cape Town in port race is in less than two weeks and Puma’s Mar Mostro and team are stuck on Tristan da Cunha 1,500 miles from Cape Town.
With more Whitbread/Volvo races under his belt than even he can remember, there are few, if any, more experienced than Worthington when it comes to making a complex plan that has been developed minute by minute work.
Somehow he’s managed to find time to jot down a snapshot of his world as his team scrambles to stay in the race. Missing the in port race on 10 Dec and the points would be a blow, but Leg 2 starts the following day.
Set against that, here’s a snapshot of Worthington’s World:
“It’s been one week since we learned the mast broke on Puma’s Mar Mostro. We’ve checked a few things off the list, and we still have a lot to take care of…all with the goal of getting ready to race again.
When I got word the rig was down, first on the list was to notify the families. Next, I called Hall Spars to organize the replacement mast. And then, the calls just kept coming and going…that’s how I operate – on the phone. At one point, I was also receiving around 40 emails per hour, so I spent the whole night just making phone calls and working through those emails. Priority was to take care of the sailors and their families, make sure they were all ok, make sure they could reach each other by email. Since only three people with the team are allowed to even email the boat, there’s a lot to manage.
We looked at the option of trying to finish, and if we ended fourth we’d get those points. The problem was it was going to take too long and there wasn’t enough time between legs. That’s when we made the decision to retire from the leg and get to Tristan island as fast as possible. It was the closest land.
Then, there was how to get fuel to the boat, how do they get to Tristan, how do we get the boat? From towing, to calling the Brazilian Navy and a state senator…we looked at a lot of options.
As of Tuesday morning, a ship was booked to go pick them up – and the original ship was a really good plan. It was going to meet them at Tristan, timed to meet within about a day of the team arriving there. And the mast was scheduled for flights to Cape Town.
The next day, the ship got cancelled. We had to start a new list all over again.
By end of the day on Wednesday, we had a new ship secured…but it wasn’t in Cape Town and had to come from Durban, South Africa – about a two-day trip away. But, it’s on the way to Tristan now.
Looking at where we’re at what’s been checked off the list and what is still left to do…
What has been taken care of…
· We got fuel to the boat, so they could get to the island.
· We coordinated with Tristan da Cunha to receive the team…and put them on a running tab.
· The guys arrived at the island.
· The shore crew, already in Cape Town, loaded a supply container for the container ship.
· We got the container, the cradle and Chris Hill (shore crew) onto the ship.
· The ship departed for Tristan.
· The new mast has departed for Cape Town.
What’s left on the list…
· We have to get the new rig all the way to Cape Town.
· The ship needs to get to Tristan island.
· The boat will have to be loaded onto the container ship in Tristan.
· We have to get the team and the boat back to Cape Town.
· The new rig will be stepped on the boat.
· The boat needs to get ready to sail.
· We have to do a sea trial.
What am I still worried about? I’m worried about the mast getting all the way to Cape Town. I’m worried about the ship getting to the boat. I’m worried about the weather for the ship getting to and from Cape Town. Just getting the boat onto the ship is going to be stressful. I’m worried about the guys staying positive in this situation.
Fortunately, it’s times like these that you realize what a great team you have – all around. Sure I’m still worried, but there are a lot of good people working hard on this.
And even though the ship is late, by going to Tristan island, the guys can get rest, get off the boat, and can work on the boat on the way back. Everything will ideally be sorted by the time they get to Cape Town so they can spend some brief time with their families.
Then it’s back in the race – the final item on the “to-do list.”