Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Doing It Tough - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Sickness on board, plus a couple of injuries, have put the crews of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the test as they make their way through the Pacific Ocean from Sanya to Auckland on the 5,264-nautical mile Leg 4.
Photo: Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race
Pablo Arrarte (ESP) has been struggling with ‘flu on board Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), and Justin Slattery (IRE) has been laid low by a similar virus on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR). However, both are now getting back to full fitness, according to their crews.
Photo: Stefan Coppers / Team Brunel / Volvo Ocean Race
Offshore sailors particularly fear sickness at sea since germs can so easily spread among the crew in the confined space.
Photo: Amory Ross / Team Alvimedica / Volvo Ocean Race
“This is threatening,” said Jens Delmer (DEN) in a message from Team Brunel, referring to the unfortunate Arrarte’s sickness. “We live in such a small space that something can spread easily to the group.
Photo: Sam Greenfield / Dongfeng Race Team / Volvo Ocean Race
“Because of the bad food and little sleep, everyone has a super low resistance. This is normally not a problem, because we leave with a sterile boat, and at sea there are no viruses. But if someone brings it on, then we will all be at risk.”
Photo: Francisco Vignale / MAPFRE / Volvo Ocean Race
A couple of the sailors have also picked up minor but painful injuries since leaving Sanya on the southernmost point of China on February 8.
Photo: Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race
Guillermo (‘Willy’) Altadill (ESP) of MAPFRE (Xabi Fern├índez/ESP) injured his hand and needed it to be bandaged up. And Gerd-Jan Poortman (NED) ruptured his eardrum and suffered bruising to his arm and side after being washed into a dagger board on Team Brunel.

Both sailors are also reported by their crews to be back on the mend.

Although the Dutch boat was effectively a man down for a couple of days because of Arrarte’s illness, Team Brunel have established a strong position at the head of the fleet after gambling on a more northerly route along with Team SCA early in the leg.

The gamble paid off with stronger winds that propelled Bekking’s team into a near 100nm lead on Monday, but by Tuesday at 1240 UTC, that had been whittled back to 37.4nm by the chasing pack led by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR).

MAPFRE, which has been without full communications with Race Control since the weekend, is still holding on to third spot despite missing weather data to help them plot their course.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) were still at the rear of the fleet, 94.3nm adrift of Team Brunel, after failing to make similar gains.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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