Self-administered surgery on Cessna Citation

On Sunday afternoon GMT, Conrad Colman and Adrian Kuttel on Cessna Citation,
leading the Global Ocean Race Class40s through the Southern Ocean, ran
straight into a band of light wind stretching across the Pacific’s high
latitudes with speed averages plummeting to below three knots. Further
north-west, Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon in second on Financial Crisis
have held the breeze as they approach 54S, taking a massive 117 miles
from Colman and Kuttel in 24 hours. West of the bluQube Scoring Gate,
Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire have made solid progress
dropping south through the Roaring Forties in remarkable conditions with

While Colman and Kuttel have been leading the fleet through the
currently calm Furious Fifties, Adrian Kuttel took the opportunity to
attend to his badly infected fingernails – a problem that arose through
diesel spilt in the Class40’s bilge during the upwind pounding west of
the scoring gate. “This was a high priority as it was affecting the
sailing,” confirms the 44 year-old South African who was finding
handling sheets and tying knots extremely difficult with swollen and
tender fingers. Kuttel assembled the appropriate tools for the
self-administered procedure: “In this case, the sharp knife blade in my
trusty – if somewhat rusty – Leatherman and, after much deliberation and
internal debate, a wet wipe from our ever-dwindling supply,” he

The process is not for the squeamish. “Works procedure
was to scratch around the infected fingernail until a point of entry
behind the fingernail could be found and the wound could be lanced,”
says Kuttel. “Next step was to grunt up, clench jaw, and squeeze the
infected fingertip until all the gunk had been expunged via the hole
created during the earlier surgical procedure with the Leatherman.” This
was then repeated a further nine times. “There was varying degrees of
discharge with the amount of discharge being in direct proportion to
pain,” he adds. Kuttel is now using antiseptic cream on his damaged
hands and his fingers are improving rapidly.

Meanwhile, the Italian-Spanish duo on Financial Crisis were making eight knots in the 15:00 GMT position poll on Monday, trailing Cessna Citation
by 141 miles as Colman and Kuttel slowed to below two knots. The
remoteness of their current location is getting to Hugo Ramon. “We are
now getting a very long way south,” reports the Spanish yachtsman as
they close in on 54S. “It is now more inhospitable and colder than I’ve
ever experienced before,” he continues. “The closest speck of land is an
uninhabited lump of rock about 1,700 miles to the north, which is
almost the same distance as we have to Cape Horn in front of us.”

isolation in the Southern Ocean is total: “If there was an emergency
down here, any quick rescue would be hard to organise,” Ramon advises.
“Rescue helicopters simply don’t have the range to reach us and although
planes could reach us and drop supplies and equipment, they couldn’t
pick us up.” There is also a total absence of shipping: “We’re a long
way from commercial routes, so there’s no chance of a merchant ship
diverting towards us,” he adds.

In reality, there is only one option available: “Conrad and Adrian would be our only hope and turning Cessna Citation
around and beating back to our current position would take around 30
hours,” he calculates. “So although we are fighting for every mile to
the finish, one thing overcomes the competitive racing: offshore
solidarity,” states Ramon. “Philippe Poupon and Raphael Dinelli – to
mention only two – will never, ever forget Loïc Peyron and Pete Goss who
saved them.” In the inaugural 1989-90 Vendée Globe, Peyron rescued
Poupon from his capsized ketch, Fleury Michon X, and Goss turned round and sailed his Open 50 Aqua Corum
upwind through gales to rescue Dinelli from his sinking yacht in the
Indian Ocean during the 1996-97 Vendée Globe. “The members of this
marine union know that to turn back and suspend racing to rescue a
fellow competitor is a moral obligation, not a legal necessity.”

To the north-west of Financial Crisis
by 950 miles and 470 miles from the bluQube Scoring Gate at 15:00 GMT
on Monday, Leggatt and Hutton-Squire are amazed by the conditions at
46S: “After a cool night, the sun rose, the cloud cover cleared and blue
sky paid us a visit,” reported Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Monday
morning. “The whole day has been sunny with blue sky at times and on top
of that, it has been warm and we have not worn our boots at all. I keep
asking myself are we in the South Pacific or not?” The South Africans
have been averaging between seven and ten knots for the past 24 hours
and the following wind is forecast to keep with them as the cross the

Leggatt and Hutton-Squire have used the stable conditions to carry out work on Phesheya-Racing:
“We finished installing the Garmin Chart plotter last night and it
worked first time with no hiccups,” Hutton-Squire continues. “Now we can
use the radar on the Garmin plotter from down below to monitor ice as
we head south,” she adds. “Once we have rounded the Horn, we’ll use it
to find fishing boats too.” During the early stages of GOR Leg 1 from
Palma to Cape Town, poorly-lit fishing boats were a constant hazard off
the coast of Africa. “As they don’t have AIS, we could not see them from
down below, but now with our newly installed Garmin plotter, we can
monitor things carefully from the chart table.”

GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 13/2/12:
1.   Cessna Citation DTF 2899 1.9kts
2.   Financial Crisis DTL 141 8.2kts
3.   Phesheya-Racing DTL 1097 8.4kts