Skipper Lisa McDonald and the girls of Amer Sports Too arrived in Auckland last night after the brief but boat-busting Volvo Ocean Race third leg
Skipper Lisa McDonald and the girls of Amer Sports Too arrived in Auckland last night after the brief but boat-busting Volvo Ocean Race third leg. Among the cheering spectators and journalists were skipper Lisa McDonald’s husband Neal and Amer Sports One skipper Grant Dalton (below right). Their arrival – after 10 days six hours, a day and a half after the previous boat – ended what, for them, has been a nightmare leg. While crossing the Bass Strait during the Sydney-Hobart section, Amer Sports Too lost her forestay when a deck fitting blew out.
“At that point,” said McDonald on arrival in Auckland, “we were halfway across Bass Strait so do you head back or carry on? We decided to carry on, and went on to fix the forestay in Hobart. We don’t yet know if there is any long term damage to the rig through the shock load of the forestay breaking. At least we have a long stopover to sort these things out.”
Their bad luck didn’t end there. An encounter with a couple of hefty fish in the Bass Strait left Amer Sports Too with a damaged rudder, further hampering the boat’s progress into Hobart. “The girl who was steering at the time damaged her thumb badly with the force of the wheel being spun round and ripped out of her hand.”
Emergency repairs were made in Hobart to enable the boat to make it to Auckland and this dropped the girls 30 hours behind the rest of the fleet. Despite their poor finishing place (seventh, ahead of the retired SEB) skipper Lisa McDonald was delighted with the way her crew handled the adversities.
“It is a great sense of accomplishment that we have managed to overcome each and every obstacle which we have come up against in this leg,” said McDonald, whose husband Neal skippered Assa Abloy to her first leg win, “and I think it says a lot for the crew that we have attacked each problem as it has arisen with great professionalism, the quickness of figuring out what the problem is and solving it, coming to a conclusion and carrying on with the race says a great deal for this team and I am very proud of the whole group.”
The Nautor Challenge shore crew will have their hands full getting the Farr-designed Amer Sports Too ready for the fourth leg, starting on 27 January, from Auckland through the Southern Ocean and round Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro.