with delaminating main beam fairing and injured crew

Cam Lewis, prior to the start.Pic: James Boyd

Friday, 19 January

Early this morning, Cam Lewis’ 110-foot maxi catamaranTeam Adventurediverted to Cape Town South Africa to repair structural damage.

While sailing off a large wave about 1,100 miles southwest of Cape Town last night,Team Adventurewas damaged when the fairing at the forward starboard side of the main beam delaminated. The area also suffered some outer skin and core damage.

Considering the sailing conditions in the Southern Ocean, skipper Cam Lewis deemed it prudent to put into Cape Town where under race rules they will be forced to stay for at least 48 hours. The team plans to arrive there within three days and effect the necessary repairs. “We are concerned by this setback, but we are determined to press on and get back in The Race,” commented Lewis from on board. “We have been in contact with our designer Gilles Ollier and our builder, Multiplast,” continued co-navigator Larry Rosenfeld. “They feel that we can repair the damage and continue in The Race.”

Team Adventureis now speeding towards Cape Town, South Africa, 1,000 miles away on a bearing of 070deg sailing at 15 knots under reduced sail. At the time she was in second place, 142 miles behindClub Med. She was sailing faster thanClub Medin flatter water slightly to the north. Also on board are two injured crewmen. Mikael Lundh was injured in a fall crossing the trampoline. He suffered a sprained neck and he is resting in his bunk. Jeffrey Wargo suffered a bruised pelvis, when he was thrown forward in the galley. He is also resting in his bunk. “I am not really worried about the boat,” said Lewis. “But, I want to make certain my crew is safe and sound.” Lewis is in contact with The Race organization and the official doctor for The Race, Jean Yves Chauve who is e-mailing advice to the boat.

The problems affectingTeam Adventure’s beam come as no surprise for the crew on boardClub Med. They experienced the same problem during their transatlantic voyages last summer. However following that incident (along withClub Med’s bow failure) the fairing was beefed up. Yann Penfornis, one of Gilles Ollier’s design team, says that stiffeners have now been added between the bulkheads supporting the beam fairing and this structure is now the same on all three of their boats. “They were sailing too fast through the waves,” says Penfornis. “I have a feeling that you can break every boat if you want. In those conditions for the Jules Verne they might slow down a bit, but because this is a race they were pushing harder.”

Penfornis, who is flying down to Cape Town, says that the repairs are likely to take three days to complete.

Team Adventure’s stopover now leavesClub Medwith what appears to be an unbeatable lead. “We’re going to get out in front far enough, so that if we have to take some downtime we can go into the pits and come out still in first place,” watch leader Ed Danby told Yachting World earlier. “We might throttle back a bit and we’ll probably level off at 50degS instead of going down to 52 or 53degS.”Innovation Explorer, the third Ollier cat seems to be out of the running as she is having problems with her sails and lacks some crucial sails to stay on the pace in the South.