After diverting to the southern Argentinian town of Ushuaia, movistar is repaired and back in the Volvo Ocean Race 6/3/06
At 3.30 GMT this morning movistar (Bouwe Bekking) was craned back into the water. She is now motoring back down the Beagle Channel and has 34 miles to go before returning to the spot where she suspended racing and her leg can resume to Rio.
There are no boat building facilities in remote capital of Argentina’s province of Tierra del Fuegom, Ushuaia – the most southern city in the world. And extreme weather conditions made it a hectic 12 hours as the final repairs were made to movistar.
Experts from the Spanish Challenge to the America’s Cup 2007, “Desafio Espanol 2007”, were flown in to repair the damage to this Volvo Open 70.
As the team suspected, the fairing between the keel and the hull had broken off and this is how the water leaked into the boat. Once the boat was out of the water in Ushuaia, the team was able to see that there was also some light damage to the rudder and the hull, which was almost certainly caused by the fairing breaking off. The team has carried out repairs that will get them to Rio de Janeiro, where they will carry out a more rigourous investigation and a repair will be done to bring the boat back up to optimum condition for the next leg of the course.
Skipper Bouwe Bekking said: “We will be sailing with the keel halfway so as not to exert too much pressure around the area until we are able to perform more in-depth repairs. Obviously, in these kinds of conditions, our speed will be a lot slower than the rest of the fleet, but we should be in Rio by 13 March.”
Bekking also commented on the crew’s jaunt through town: “As we only had our smelly clothes and boots, we had to go on a little shopping tour in the high street just after our arrival. The locals couldn’t believe their eyes, some of us walked in shorts & barefoot in five degrees, to air the feet, so in no time the rumour spread that we were in town.”
The race office was also informed that movistar has withdrawn both protests against ABN AMRO TWO (Sebastien Josse) and Pirates of the Caribbean (Paul Cayard) which were submitted ashore during the stopover in Wellington and one after the re-start in Wellington.
For the rest of the fleet racing towards Rio de Janeiro with just over 1000 nautical miles to run, it has been another 24 hours of smooth sailing. The dreaded slow passage through the ridge of high pressure yesterday did not materialise and the fleet managed to keep moving. The whole fleet tacked late last night, but the order remains unchanged as they head towards the coast, 700 miles to their west. ABN AMRO ONE (Mike Sanderson) continues to sail consistently faster than the chasing pack and has extended her lead to 45 miles, from ABN AMRO TWO in second place.