Roman Paszke and his crew comprising Dariusz Drapella, Wojtek Dlugozima, Robert Janecki, Zbigniew Gutkowski, Mariusz Pirjanowicz, Jaroslaw Kaczorowski, crossed the finishing line of The Race, on Tuesday evening, outside the official time limit.
Warta Polpharma, the Polish catamaran, left Barcelona on 31st December 2000 at 14h00 and has therefore taken just under 100 days to complete her circumnavigation : 99 days 12 hours 31 minutes
This is the second time round for this Ollier-designed cat which was built by the Multiplast yard at the end of 1986/beginning of 1987. In 1993, with Bruno Peyron at the helm, she was the first multihull to sail round the world in under 80 days.
Warta Polpharma was forced to make a pit-stop in Fortaleza in Brazil between 22nd and 24th March to make repairs to her cracked portside hull. That put paid to any chance of her finishing the race within the official time limit (30 days after the arrival of the first boat,ÊClub Med, i.e. by the 2nd April 2001). Two crew members disembarked on that occasion for health reasons, namely Richard Block and Piotr Cichocki. The damage sustained to Warta Polpharma could have given Team Legato the chance to cross the line ahead of the Poles but the British boat ran into technical problems with her mast step, forcing her to divert to the Canary Islands and wave goodbye to any chance of pipping the Poles at the post.
Further south, Slava Sysenko, the 47-year-old Ukrainian crewman aboard Tony Bullimore's Team Legato, fractured his leg earlier today. The highly experienced yachtsman who is a veteran of a previous round the world race, was knocked over by a large wave which broke over the forward netting as he was struggling to reef down a headsail in the strong head winds. "A large wave knocked me off balance." He told the Legato Race Office over the satellite phone. "It pushed me over, but my foot was caught under the headsail and I twisted it badly.
According to Team Legato's skipper who is also the boat's medical expert, Slava has broken his left Tibia at a point where the bone had been broken in a previous accident some years ago. After being helped back into the shelter of the cockpit, Tony Bullimore applied an anti-inflammatory bandage and splint to the leg, and the Ukrainian is now resting in Tony's bunk in the central god-pod.
Tony's first thought was to head directly for Gibraltar just 13 miles ahead, but Sysenko, who has been a key member of Bullimore's team ever since Team Legato was updated in Bristol Docks, will not countenance a stop. "No. I am determined to finish The Race. There will be no more stops." He told the Legato Race Office this afternoon. "The leg is well strapped up and I am not in much pain. I can stay here for another 3-4 days. I do not want to get off the boat."
Tony Bullimore confirmed "For the moment, I am prepared to bow to Slava's wishes, but if conditions get too bad or I believe that the pain or discomfort he may be feeling gets worse, I will have no hesitation in heading for the nearest port. My first priority is the safety and welfare of my crew, but I fully understand Slava's wishes. As circumnavigations go, this has been one of the toughest. He wants to complete this challenge as much as any of us and it is this spirit that epitomises the strength of character that runs right through this Team Legato crew."