Never a quiet moment for the 18 remaining skippers, who still have shipping and fishing boats to contend with
Already three out of twenty have fallen and the fleet still have shipping and fishing boats to contend with. Louis Burton’s race-within-a-race to get back to Les Sables d’Olonne in time to repair his boat and restart by 1302hrs on November 20 (the ten days skippers are allowed before the start line closes) will be a constant reminder for the rest of what a collision can do.
Francois ‘Goldenboy’ Gabart continued his unrelenting pace at the front of the fleet and this morning will pass the Canary Islands 200 miles east. “Unfortunately the wind has eased so it is not at the same pace as yesterday,” he explained. “Shame…It was really nice.” Gabard’s mentor is Michel Desjoyeaux, one of the best poker playing sailors in the world.
At the back of the fleet, Zbigniew Gutkowski explained his early course west by the fact that he has been having multiple electrical problems and his alarms were not working. It is hard enough to sleep at the best of time in a shipping lane, but without alarms the anxiety is too great.
The ACCIONA Sailing Team has been informed by its skipper Javier “Bubi” Sansó that the boat ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered has had to modify its sailing route having suffered a little damage to the track of the main sail halyard whilst sailing in very harsh sea and wind conditions.
At around 18.00 on Wednesday 14 November the skipper from Mallorca saw his main sail come down after a piece of the mainsail halyard track system failed.
Faced with the sudden dropping of the mainsail in winds of 30 knots and a rough sea with waves of up to four metres, Sansó was forced to modify his route from 213º to 147º and find a downwind position that would enable him to make a first assessment of the situation.
With a damaged part and the halyard at the top of the mast, Sansó will look for calmer sea conditions that allow him to go up to the top of the mast and recover the part and the halyard and be able to continue sailing under full sail.
The damage is not serious as Javier Sansó was keen to reassure his shore team and the situation is being monitored: “This afternoon whilst I was sailing without any problem the part that attaches the main sail into the halyard track broke. I can’t do anything until the weather improves and í can go up the mast to get the part and the main sail halyard back. Once I am back down it will just take me a few hours until I am back sailing again. The worst thing will be the 48 hours that I am going to lose. But this is a tough and long race and there is still a lot to be done”.