Ellen MacArthur has retired from the Archipelago Raid with a cut leg

After around 30 hours and 145 miles of racing, the Archipelago Raid has proved to be an exciting battle for the 14 catamaran teams racing in the Swedish archipelago.

Early last night Ellen MacArthur sustained an accidental injury to her leg by a knife, cutting her shin during a manoeuvre on board. Racing several more hours through the night caused her leg to swell with increasing pain. The cut is quite deep and is proving too painful to put pressure on this leg. Racing on a harness has become impossible.

During the one hour pit stop in Sandhamn this morning, MacArthur and Moloney decided not to continue racing on the 18ft catamaran Omega, disappointed to abandon the race. “It was a really stupid accident as it just happened as I lent over the boat and a sharp knife in the tool bag pierced my leg – it managed to cut through the tool bag and two layers of offshore gear before it even reached my leg! It did not seem serious at the time so we carried on and we had a good night of fast racing under gennaker but eventually my leg started to throb with pain and it has swelled up now so I can’t really put any pressure on it,” said Ellen, who has been examined by a doctor. The cut is deep in the muscle but required no stitching and now the leg needs to rest to heal in its own time. “Unfortunately, this means it really is not possible for me and Nick [Moloney] to carry on racing. I am really disappointed… this is a great event, really tough but a fantastic experience in a stunning location. The other guys racing are pretty experienced in this Raid but we were enjoying the competition – it’s a real shame but we have every intention of coming back for another go.”

Meanwhile the action is full on out on the race course. The racing is extremely tight with five boats constantly fighting for the lead. Tidermans, Sogeti, Jobman Workear, and the two Nokia boats have been chasing each other closely since the start. Team Tidermans (Calle Hennix/Anders Lewander) finished first after the first leg yesterday and Team Nokia Adilstam (Fredrik Adilstam/Tomas Marimon) won the second leg today. According to the number of points, Nokia Adilstam is currently leading the race.

The competitors had a spectacular night’s sailing passing the outermost islands of the Stockholm archipelago in the faint light of the Swedish summer night. During summer it never gets completely dark and at 03.00 the blood red sun had crawled over the horizon to light up the fast ride of the catamarans enjoying a boat speed of 10-15 knots in calm waters. A sensational experience even for the local sailors.

The McDonald’s couple on ASSA ABLOY has had a few problems since the start, primarily with their GPS, a crucial tool for successful navigation. They are fighting hard to keep up with the leaders and are currently in eighth position.

The difficult navigation, lack of sleep, speed, demanding sailing, paddling, wet, and tight competition is starting to affect the persistent racers, but they are hanging in there and putting up an impressive performance.

The teams carry out a five hour mandatory stop at Fejan island before they restart all together at 17.15 GMT (19.15 local time). The winds are predicted to increase to 20 knots from the north, which means some tough sailing ahead for the second night of the race.

ETA in Gustavsberg/Stockholm late afternoon on Friday 11 July. The Archipelago Raid is based on four/five legs. The teams gather a number of points depending on position on arrival at the last check point of each leg. So far the competitors have completed two legs.

Rankings after 2nd leg at 14.30 GMT 9 July

1. Nokia / Adilstam Fredrik Adilstam (S) and Tomas Marimon (S) – 2nd 2002

2. Tidermans Anders Lewander (S) and Calle Hennix (S)

3. Jobman Workwear Björn Hansen (Åland) and Björn Österberg (S)

4. Sogeti Magnus Woxén (S) and Rodney Ardern (NZ) – Woxén winner 2002 with Klabbe Nylöf

5. Macfreeze Anders Tengbom (S) and Fred Wikström (S)

6. Nokia / Kempff Joakim Kempff (S) and Magnus Nordström (S)

7. Addicom Mikael Leksell (S) and Pontus Johansson (S)

8. ASSA ABLOY Neal McDonald (GB) and Lisa McDonald (USA) – 3rd 2002

9. GB Glace Bengt Jacobson (S) and Jan Schiratzki (S)

10. Nynäs Havsbad Thomas Östergren (S) and Tore Lewander (S)

11. Playground Petter Åström (S) and Jonas Engstedt (S)

12. Suunto Stefan Engstrand (S) and Björn Scherrer (S)

Not fully completed leg

13. Realsailing Fredrik Hansen (S) and Christopher Ringhagen (USA/S)


14. Omega Ellen MacArthur (GB) and Nick Moloney (AUS)