Damaged main forces young team aboard Farr 45 to lose ground in Round Britain & Ireland Race 14/8/06

In the early hours of day seven, Farr 45 Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks was forced to delay her progress when her mainsail fell from the top of the mast, needing serious repairs. The crew, all associated with the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme sprang into action to get the boat back up to speed as quickly as possible.

Volvo Ocean Race Skipper, Nigel King is on board as a mentor to the young sailors and reported back on the tense few hours that had all hands on deck.

“At about 0100 this morning the head of our main dropped after coming undone from the main halyard. It was immediately obvious that we would need to make some serious repairs to the sail and the headboard.

“We got the mainsail completely down in order to repair it properly, leaving us without our main source of power. After clearing a space below deck we started on what was to be a very intense repair.

“Up on deck we turned away from the wind to safely get Rob Hoey (25 from Newton Abbot) up the mast to fetch the main halyard. It was a bit bumpy for him but he’s come back down without too many bruises.

“Five hours later we were back on track, although we’ve given away a lot of time to the boats behind us and let the boats in front extend their lead.

“The crew worked really hard to get the boat back up and running and I have been impressed with the amount of team work they have displayed. They have put a huge amount of effort into being successful in this race.

“We’re now about 20 miles from Muckle Flugga, our northern most point, doing about eight and a half knots in 20-22 knots of wind. One at Muckle Flugga we’ll finally get to turn south and start the trek down the east coast of Britain and back to Cowes.”

Unlimited Sailing / john Merricks are currently in eighth place overall in the 28-boat fleet.

Unlimited Sailing / John Merricks is being crewed by members of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme with an average age of just 23 on board. The boat and the Round Britain and Ireland Campaign are supported by Unlimited Sailing, the Peter Harrison Foundation and the John Merricks Trust.

Nigel King, East London – Skipper
Rob Hoey, Newton Abbot – Co Skipper/Bowman
Jamie Holmes, Bath – Boat Captain/Trimmer
Nicky Macgregor, Poole – Watch Leader/Trimmer
James Roche, Southampton – Watch Leader/Trimmer
Ed Hill, Guildford – Watch Leader/Trimmer
Jeremy Fowke, Weymouth – Trimmer
Charlotte Lawrence, Lymington, Edinburgh University – Trimmer
Nick Cherry, Southampton – Helm
Jonny Marshall, Lymington – Helm
Connor Myant, London – Helm