Despite losing their light air gennaker, Team illbruck are still hanging on to their slim lead
Despite losing their light air gennaker, Team illbruck are still hanging on to their slim lead on the fifth leg of the VOR with just 800 miles to go to the finish line in Miami.
The problem with the gennaker occurred on Saturday night at 0400 in 17 knots of breeze. Ray Davies (helmsman/trimmer) explained what happened:
‘We were running in 17 knots with our light running gennaker up (good for a maximum of 24 knots), monitoring a line of cloud that was moving up on us from astern and leeward. This was obviously going to give us a huge lift, therefore a gybe was inevitable. So in textbook style we woke the entire crew in preparation for a breezy gybe. Sure enough the breeze started to build as the rain approached and the wind shifted about 45 degrees.
‘All crewmembers were on deck, and then suddenly we had 27 knots. The call was made to drop the gennaker and hoist our heavy running gennaker on the other gybe. While setting up for that call, the breeze dropped to 21 knots and the fateful call was made to gybe. The minute needed to prepare for the new call was enough time for the breeze to build again to 25 knots.
‘We went ahead with the gybe and the first flap of the gennaker on the new gybe saw it split in half horizontally. The lower half fell into the water directly in front of us. A good call from Jamie [Gale] to turn up [head into the wind] avoided the gennaker being wrapped around the keel. ‘The remainder of the sail followed the same course as the other half and floated off into the night. Not a single thread of the gennaker was left onboard. After a quick look with the endoscopes to check that the foils (keel and rudder) were clear, we hoisted the heavy gennaker and were off again. Not much distance lost, just hardware.
‘At least it makes our sail choice easier for the rest of the leg. Even out here in the trades you can still get caught out!’