Justin Slattery and Dave Scully were up the mast for over six hours yesterday carrying out repairs to Cheyenne's mast track

Despite the less than favourable Southern Ocean conditions Steve Fossett’s crew aboard Cheyenne have managed to carry out repairs to the damaged mast track en-route for Cape Horn. Initially the crew expected to have to wait until they reached the shelter of the Falklands later in the week, but the thought of several more days’ slow sailing, then to lose even more time while stopped was too frustrating after all the efforts of the past five weeks.

Commenting on the repair, Fossett said: “I can’t believe these guys fixed the mast. With a “Do it now” attitude, the Cheyenne crew mobilized on Sunday morning to make the necessary repairs. As reported earlier, a section of mainsail track on the mast ripped off early Saturday morning. The initial repair plan was to anchor in a protected bay in the Falkland Islands to attempt the repairs. The suspense of not knowing if it was repairable was too great – and the crew attacked the problem at sea 3 days from Cape Horn. “Justin Slattery and Dave Scully were up the mast for over six hours during the day. The first challenge was to remove the 13 screws which had sheared off. This required drilling and use of Easy Out tools. Then a similar section was removed from the third reef location and fitted to the more important first reef point. All this while suspended from the Man Halyard of the swinging mast. Meanwhile Mike Beasley fabricated replacement third reef track out of damaged and miscellaneous spares. Mike and Damian Foxall went up the mast to install the replacement.

“Without a successful fix, Cheyenne was limited to raising the mainsail only to the second reef, a restriction which would have made it impossible to sail fast enough to break the record of Orange. Sure, we lost a lot of time on this whole episode, but now we are again in the hunt for the record.”

Cheyenne’s 346-mile run Sunday (avgerage 14.4kts) meant their lead over Orange’s RTW record track only fell to 1,830 miles by Monday morning – with Steve Fossett and team now back up to 18-20kts boatspeed.