...but only with 10 crew

26 January

Cam Lewis’ stricken catamaranTeam Adventureis due to leave Cape Town later today, the repairs to her main beam now complete.Team Adventurewent ‘down the mine’ badly last week causing the damage to the fairing of the main beam on the starboard by the mast. Since the 110ft cat’s arrival in Cape Town in the early hours of Monday morning (22nd Jan)local boatbuilders have been working round the clock to repair the damage, which comprised a 3sqft area of delamination on the fairing and a fractured bulkhead inside it. The repair work was finished yesterday and the epoxy was left to cure last night.

Unfortunately Lewis has not been so lucky with his crew. During the incident when the boat came to a halt three crewmen were injured. On his arrival Jeffery Wargo was found to have a 30% reduction fracture on the front of his L1 vertebrae. For the next few months he will be wearing a corset/back brace. Swedish crewman Mikael Lundh was found to have a sprained tendon on the front of his spinal column and a bruised nerve between the number 4 and 5 vertebrae. He will be wearing a next brace for the next few weeks. Neither Wargo or Lundh will be able to rejoinTeam Adventure.

The third wounded crewman was French multihull sailor Philippe Peche who suffered a cut inside his mouth. He was holding a flashlight in his teeth when he fell over onto it, jamming the light into the back of his jaw. Peche has recovered and will be returning to the crew.

Down to 12 from the original crew of 14, Lewis face further bad news this week when two additional crewmen, Rick Deppe and Rob Miles, announced they would not be continuing for personal reasons. This will leaveTeam Adventurewith a crew of just 10.

Mid week Lewis was deliberating about whether they should continue with The Race. Lewis’ partner and navigator Larry Rosenfeld was petitioning The Race organisation to see whether the rules couldn’t be bent a little to allow them to replace at least the injured crewmen (the rules prohibit crew from being replaced – but the rules for this event, such as the qualification requirements, seem to have been rewritten and rewritten again to get this event to happen and it was not unreasonable of Rosenfeld and Lewis to think the organisers would capitulate again). Other skippers in The Race were petitioned to see if they would support this. Dalton and Bullimore both gave it the thumbs up, but Skip Novak said no.

Racing with 10 will not be the end of the world for Lewis. It may have been pre-race politicing but earlier in the year Lewis was considering going with 10 crew. When he sailed on boardCommodore Explorerwith Bruno Peyron on the first successful attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, they were only five up on an 80ft catamaran. Crew work on board is by no means as intensive as it is on say a Volvo 60 – there are less sails and therefore less sail changes to be made, gear gets moved fore and aft but not athwartships on every tack and due to the way these giant speedsters behave there is even less trimming.

“There are ten of us on board who firmly believe we have a chance to be in the money at the finish,” said Lewis. “Our boat is strong. She’ll be stronger than ever when we leave Cape Town. We have fast sails and a very talented and motivated crew.”

Team Adventurewill rejoin The Race in third position just ahead of the Poles on boardWarta Polpharmaand with a considerable amount of catching up to do. By the time they restart first placedClub Medwill be around 3,500 miles ahead. “But” points out Lewis “there is still a long way to go.”

STOP PRESS:Team Adventurerejoined The Race at 1100 GMT today, but was virtually becalmed in the lee of Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain.