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2 November 2001, 12:28 pm
Reflection On Leg One
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Team Tyco

Volvo Ocean Race

With illbruck facing two protest hearings, the outcome of which could alter the result of leg 1, we reflect upon leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
With illbruck and Amer Sports One already moored in Cape Town and enjoying the onshore life, third place on the podium was taken by the Australian Volvo Ocean Race entry News Corp, skippered by Jez Fanstone from Great Britain. During their last 24 hours of racing the yacht was seriously beaten by gale-force southeasterly winds, which unfortunately caused injuries. Joe Spooner hit his head, slashing a big gash that had to be closed with two stitches by onboard medic and sail maker Alby Pratt.

Upon arrival, Jez Fanstone said: "We always wanted to finish among the top three. The whole leg was very intense with every wind condition you can imagine." Being asked about the food issue, he continued: "I am approximately six kilos lighter and we haven't had any food for the last 24 hours. But we knew that it would be like this. Just the last 24 hours were pretty miserable; we didn't expect 50 knots of wind and 11 metre seas. When freezing and being hungry this is even worse. The crew did fabulous, more than from anyone could have been expected."

After arrival, a doctor took care of Joe Spooner, to check Alby's handiwork.

Tyco, the Bermudan based entry in the Volvo Ocean Race finished fourth on October 27 at 0637 GMT, after 33d 16h 37m 49s at sea, claiming five points for this leg.

After powering through the storm 48 hours before, they had to use their full-size light wind sails for the final miles into Cape Town. At the early stages of this leg Tyco was holding the lead and showed great speed potential. Skipper Kevin Shoebridge and Navigator Steve Hayles often positioned their yacht to take advantage of local weather phenomena and put a lot of pressure on illbruck. After rounding Ilha de Trinidade, they missed the lane to the south, which could have hooked them into the weather system that helped illbruck and Amer Sports One for the fast crossing of the South Atlantic. Their fourth place was never endangered across the South Atlantic.

Sailing the yacht that is likely to be the fastest in the fleet, the result for Dutchman Roy Heiner was certainly disappointing. However, the good thing about it is that in every one of the coming legs, any of the yachts could finish fifth or worse and as ASSA ABLOY has shown, one mistake is enough to be swept back from fighting for the lead to fighting against being left behind. They have only to take care that it is not them again.

Arriving in miserable weather with rain, Roy Heiner, who was born in South Africa, mused: "As long as I do not see this distinctive mountain that I remember here, I do not believe I am in Cape Town." Once the rain clouds were burned away, he was convinced that his navigator, Mark Rudiger did a perfect job.

Before the crew was allowed to enjoy proper food, a medical team stormed the yacht and took blood and muscle samples, as the whole team participates in a research program about the long-term effects of changes in muscle substance.

On October 30, two whales escorted the green SEB racing yacht over the final mile to the finish line, acknowledging their achievement of sailing 38 days from Southampton to Cape Town and remaining competitive until the last moment. The SEB support boat, a 55-foot motor yacht, went out in a fresh breeze to welcome the 12-strong crew.

On arrival Gunnar "Gurra" Krantz said: "We had 5 good days and 32 bad ones, we don't want this to happen again!" He emphasized that they used the same headboard car they were using on their training boats in Portugal over the last winter and did not understand what caused the failure. He pointed out that they will come up with a redesigned version for the next leg, where the yachts are expected to be exposed to more heavy air.

Two yachts were still out at sea and they were expected to arrive over the next 18 hours depending on the wind situation. djuice successfully defended herself against Amer Sports Too's assault, who were closing in at high pace.

Knut Frostad, skipper of the Norwegian yacht, seemed very relieved as he and his 11-strong multinational crew finally passed the finish line off the Cape Town harbour entrance. Arriving six days after the winning yacht, illbruck, considerably shortened djuice's preparation time, putting pressure on their shore crew as well.

Knut announced that there would be major changes to improve their performance on the next leg; whether it will be people or equipment remains to be seen. In an interview right after entering the harbour he confirmed this without giving away any specific details.

On his experience of this leg, he commented: "It was not only the worst leg, it was the worst race I have ever done, awful, horrible. I have never fought so hard for so little."

As the pink djuice crew is part of a medical research programme as well, after securing the lines at the pontoon, instead of being handed hamburgers and beer they were given fresh underwear and handed to the medical team for a check-up.

Just six hours later at 3 a.m. local time, Amer Sports Too powered towards the finish line with eased sails, in drizzling rain and under the glare of floodlights. For the last half mile the wind kicked in and the yacht accelerated once again, showing the assembled media that they were still racing.

Crossing the line, they lit white flares on both sides of the yacht, illuminating the scenery as the wind dropped in the lee of Table Mountain.

Once alongside at Victoria and Alfred waterfront, a crowd of journalists surrounded Lisa McDonald, skipper of the grey and red yacht. Lisa said, "even though we came last, I am very pleased with the performance of the yacht and the crew. Over thousands of miles we could stay with the guys that sailed together for more than two years."
Volvo Ocean Race Press/News Editor
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