VOLVO OCEAN RACE – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Media Crew Member (MCM) Nick Dana sent this breathless report after an action packed day on board Azzam:
What a day. Boat breakages, people breakages and very fast yachting.
People are beginning to wear thin; the non-stop fire hosing is taking a toll on everyone’s bodies and minds. Justin Slattery (bowman) commented: “It was becoming difficult to look after yourself out there, let alone trimming a sail.”
Last night during a sail change, Ian Walker (skipper) was pinned in between the rail and the heaviest sail on the boat. His shin took the brunt of it, and it looks like he is struggling to be weight bearing. He quickly shot down below after it had happened and seemed quite nauseous with pain. “Most likely just a bad bone bruise, but hurt like you wouldn’t believe!” he said lying back in his bunk.
As morning broke and the breeze began to moderate to the low 20’s, the boat seemed fairly under control – wet, smelly and violently smashing off waves, but under control.
About mid way through Craig Satterthwaite and Wade Morgan’s watch, a massive wave broke over the boat just forward of the beam, sending a larger than average wall of water against the watch team.
Craig, who was the most exposed at the time, took the largest hit. Standing just in front of the steering guard cage his upper body was completely racked against the titanium fence. We’re not sure yet, but hopefully there is no rib damage. Shortly after Craig’s beating, there was a large snap that came from the bow. Justin Ferris, who driving at the time immediately depowered the boat by turning down wind, making it safe to move to the bow for inspection.
With a few trips above and below deck inspecting the jib trough, Wade confirmed that we had broken our jib cunningham ram. Within an hour Slattery and Wade had jury-rigged an alternative solution, and we were off again. With another 30+ hours of similar conditions, there is bound to be more action.