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1 September 2005, 04:00 pm
Memorable Moments Aboard Brasil 1
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

Now well into their passage from Brazil to Spain for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, Torben GRAEL's (BRA) Brasil 1 team had two big moments in one weekend.
On Saturday 27 August, the Volvo Open 70 took a few moments out from the passage to initiate their equator virgins - pollywogs - into the rituals of the Crossing the Line ceremony.

Neptune and his attendants, led by Brazilian Kiko PELLICANO and New Zealander Andy MEIKLEJOHN challenged five of their fellow crew members and conducted the usual messy ceremony to ensure that the Pollywogs were suitably cowed at invading the northern hemisphere. Skipper GRAEL, Brazilians Marcelo FERREIRA, André FONSECA and João SIGNORINI, and New Zealander Martin CARTER have all been brought successfully into the brotherhood of those who have passed across the equator under sail at sea.

Brasil 1 left from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 20 August and has already achieved some significant milestones. The maximum speed reached so far has been 30 knots, only five knots under the top speed that the 70 foot boat (21.5m) has been designed to achieve. The greatest distance so far sailed in a 24 hour period has been 400 nautical miles.

Since the boat left Fernando de Noronha, following a brief pit stop to offload a television cameraman and spare crew, the sailors have experienced a lot of heat and very little wind. 'The heat is very intense and sometimes it can be difficult to sleep inside the boat. The food is not really a problem for the crew, but the water, a bit salty, is hard to swallow,' says FONSECA.

If crossing the line was not enough, on Sunday evening the Brazilian boat collided with a whale. 'The boat was doing about ten knots and I had just taken the helm when I felt a gentle nudge lifting the bow; followed by a sudden collision. I looked to the side and heard a roar, and the whale we had hit appeared, moving awkwardly. I think she must have been asleep - until she was awoken by our bow and then struck by the keel,' said two time Olympic Champion GRAEL.

The only crew member to sustain an injury was SIGNORINI, who fell against the galley and suffered bruised ribs. 'I thought I had broken a rib but I am feeling less pain now and I think that is just from the blow I received. I guess it's as if I've been hit by a car,' explained SIGNORINI.

Event Media. Image:© Volvo Ocean Race 2005
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