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26 November 2006, 05:17 pm
Ecover On The Road To Recovery
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007

After the trauma of the last 36 hours Ecover skipper Mike GOLDING (GBR) reports that he is in slightly better spirits this afternoon as he and Alex THOMSON (GBR) make their way steadily north towards the ultimate safety of South Africa.
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'Given everything I suppose we are in relatively good shape.' GOLDING said this afternoon.

'Alex is currently asleep with some painkillers for his hand which is quite bad and I am currently tinkering around the boat doing jobs as it is too windy at the moment to put up the mainsail,' he reported this afternoon. 'Last night we had driving sleet and there was an inch of sleet on deck and we also had big 30-35 knot squalls. Today it is slightly clearer but the sea state is much worse because of the weather last night.

'We have managed to get everything down from the mast and it is now in three bits, two on the deck and about 40ft still sticking up! We probably lost about 20 foot but we are able to fly a full staysail and will be able to fly a spinnaker staysail when the wind gets a bit lighter. Once we get the main back up we should be able to do about 10-12 knots.'

Heading For Cape Town

'Cape Town seems to be the most logical place to head for and I reckon we should be able to make it by the end of next week. We are going to try and organise a rendezvous for the last bit.'

GOLDING is still trying to solve the problem with his engine. He had been struggling with an acute but intermittent problem prior to receiving the call to rescue his fellow competitor, THOMSON. 'I am making the MacGyver fix a bit better and thankfully the heater is now working as it is bitterly cold,' he reported.

Mainsail Set

By the late afternoon, finally the mainsail was set. GOLDING and THOMSON are seeing Ecover start to show what she is capable under triple reefed mainsail and staysail under the truncated, shortened rig.

It has been a long and, at times, difficult task to recover the two pieces which had broken off the carbon mast, cutting and unattaching some of the standing rigging, and lowering it to the deck.

'Well we are finally sailing again,' confirmed GOLDING this afternoon, 'We are on the move. It turned out to be a long job because the rig broke and did not break away and so everything was still attached, and it was a long way up in the air, the broken bits were a long way up in the air, and so a lot of it was working aloft, and then it all had to be lowered down so that and it is all lashed down, so we did not make a hole in the deck or anything stupid to add to our problems.

'It is all down, the rig is lashed down, and we have basically just got sailing. We are going upwind now about 8.5- 9 knots. We are just slowly building it up to see what it can take. I think the rig is alright. We have about 25 knots of wind so it is probably quite efficient. Remember we have not much windage aloft. So it could be quite efficient.

'So we are off, and sailing northwest now. We have only just finished, and haven't even had a cup of tea yet.'

About The Race

The first leg of the VELUX 5 OCEANS started on 22 October from Bilbao, Spain. Six international skippers crossed the start line in the Bay of Biscay bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. The leg is expected to take approximately six weeks with the first boat arriving in Australia around the first week in December.

The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.

For a complete list of all the news about the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007 CLICK HERE.

Coralie Rassinoux (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Mike GOLDING in front the broken mast :© Mike Golding Yacht Racing
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