As Paprec-Virbac 2 manoeuvred its way through Cook Strait and the fifth scoring gate of the Barcelona World Race, Hugo Boss skipper Alex THOMSON announced he would be making a short pit stop in Wellington.
Race rules oblige Hugo Boss
, who were 130 miles behind the race leaders, to remain in port for a minimum of 48 hours. Skipper Alex THOMSON (GBR) says the stop will allow them to rejoin the race at 100%, ready to tackle the task of catching Paprec-Virbac 2
"The big news for us is that we're going to stop in Wellington - we have some problems with our rudders,"
THOMSON announced on the video conference yesterday morning.
At 00:35 UTC, Hugo Boss
crossed the scoring gate in Cook Strait and two and a half hours later they stopped racing as they pulled in to the 'pit lane' in Wellington. Their shore crew was there to greet them and started to work on Hugo Boss
immediately - the goal is to have the boat ready for action as soon as the 48-hour minimum stop time is over...
THOMSON says the rudder blades are moving within their cassettes and he says the cassettes are flexing as well, causing the bearings on the transom at the back of the boat to wear out. In addition, the rudders on Hugo Boss
are 'kick-up' rudders, designed to hinge upwards if they hit a submerged object. But THOMSON says, "Our rudders seem to have a tendency to point up at the sky rather than the sea bed, which can cause us to crash gybe."
The stop will be an opportunity to put right numerous other small problems of the sort that crop up on any boat after it sails halfway around the world. The goal is to get back into the race fully confident in the boat in an effort to overtake Paprec-Virbac 2
in the second half.
"I'm chuffed to bits with the performance of the boat. I'm very pleased with our preparation and I think it's nothing short of a miracle that we've got to this stage of the race as competitive as we have been with such a new boat. It's only been in the water for three or four months. My team is in Wellington now, getting ready to see us in for 48 hours. We'll get a rest, get some nice food and we'll set off again into the Southern Ocean at full pelt,"
Meanwhile, Paprec-Virbac 2
crossed the scoring gate in Cook Strait at 12:32 UTC on Wednesday. The race leader had a rough time getting to the gate, with wind that was up and down and coming from all points of the compass.
"We've been going for quite a while now, but that's part of getting through the Cook Strait,"
said a tired Damian FOXALL (IRL). "It's been really squally, and we're upwind now - we had 40 knots upwind at one stage. But it's lighter now, and there was a nice sunset over the South Island. It kind of makes you want to step off and look around, but that won't be us. Not this time."
The Cook Strait marks the unofficial halfway point of the Barcelona World Race and Paprec-Virbac 2
has been the class of the fleet, leading for the vast majority of the race to this point. The rest of the fleet continues to make good pace as well, with Educación sin Fronteras
posting the best 'distance made good' over the past 24 hours in 25 to 30 knots of cold Southern Ocean wind.
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org