VOR: Lead Changes, Fire, Men (Intentionally) Overboard, and Sunergy Heads in for Repairs

Brasil 1

It’s been a hell of a day at sea for the VOR racers, apparently. From the official site:

In an audio interview at 1230GMT, Ericsson navigator Steve Hayles told the Volvo Ocean Race web site that the boat was stopped in the water and crew members Jason Carrington and Richard Mason were in the water cutting away ropes from the keel and rudder. Thirty hours ago, during the first night, Ericsson had what Hayles described as an issue with a sail and a halyard, and had been sailing since with the debris hanging off the appendages. It was only now that the conditions were judged safe enough to put the swimmers in the water to resolve the problem.

Mike Sanderson, skipper of ABN AMRO ONE spoke to Race Headquarters at 1200 GMT and shocked radio reporter Guy Swindells with a very matter of fact report of a fire on board. Apparently a bolt had dropped into the battery box and lodged between a battery terminal and the carbon fibre structure. Carbon fibre is conductive and the resulting short circuit took out the wiring and systems in navigaton, communications and the media station. Once the fire was controlled, navigator Stan Honey, an acknowledged electronics expert in the field of TV and films, and not just an offshore navigator, has managed to re-wire the damaged areas so that they are now able to communicate and use their electronic navigation systems.

Meanwhile, Sunergy, the Australian team whose finances, and partcipation, were in doubt up until the last days before the start, has suffered a failure of the mainboom gooseneck, and is reportedly heading into port for repairs. More on the carnage in this Times Online article: Volvo boats crippled by raging seas.

At the front of the fleet, it’s currently a seesaw battle between Brasil 1 and ABN AMRO One, with Ericsson and ABN AMRO Two slightly farther back.

Photo caption: Water flows over the side deck into the cockpit of Brasil 1. ©Brasil 1.

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