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17 March 2003, 02:56 pm
Trouble On BTC - Emma Finishes - Brad Does it Again
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Emma Finishing in Salvador©Mark Pepper/Marinepics

Around Alone - Leg Four

Against the background of terracotta colored buildings, the bright turquoise hull of Pindar looked magnificent as Emma Richards blasted across the finish line to take fourth place in Class 1 on Friday. Meanwhile - There is trouble aboard BTC Velocity
The piece of rigging that holds up his mast, the same one he replaced in Tasmania after it broke on Leg 3, has once again snapped. "This has happened to me twice now and I still have the mast in the boat," Alan said in a satellite phone call. "I guess I am very lucky. Either time the mast could have fallen over the side and the race would be over for me." The piece of rigging that has once again failed is the diagonal piece that runs from the chainplates on the side of the boat, to the inboard base of the lower spreader, the part riggers call a D1. It's solid 8mm rod and this time it actually snapped in half rather than the head just pulling off.

In an email Alan described what happened: "The starboard D1, or the lowest wire supporting the mast on the starboard side, has just snapped. This is just not meant to happen. Last time I was 65 miles from land when this same wire let go off Tasmania, now however, I am 650 miles from land so the situation is different. The first thing is to stabilize the rig. Presently I am on the port tack in 25 knots of wind and lumpy seas so the "good side" of the rig is against the wind and all is secure. I can, however, not tack to starboard until I set up a block and tackle system to replace the load that wire was handling, otherwise my rig will break. I will wait for the seas to subside and discuss with others the best way to keep everything together."

Alan then made some phone calls and got advice from JC Caso, the rigger on Bobst Group Armor lux, on how to effect a jury system that should hold the mast secure until he gets to Brazil. Alan explains what he did. "Just before sunset the front passed and winds of 30 knots on a tight reach became 20 knots and a broad reach," he wrote. "The sea state was very confused, however, I took the opportunity to do part of the work needed to stabilize the mast. My nerves would not allow it to go unattended overnight." Alan then proceeded to rig a complicated set of lines running from the deck to a strop rigged from the "good" side of the mast. The lines are a low stretch Spectra and in order to tighten them Alan created a "Spanish windlass" that so far has done the trick. "I feel better about what has been done and my plan to make it as bullet proof as possible. BTC Velocity has no wish to join the carnage that has taken 2 masts, 2 booms, damaged 2 keels and now seen the withdrawal of one competitor."

The jury system held up fine overnight and this morning Alan planned to refine his work. With just under 1600 miles to go whatever Alan rigs has to last a long, long time. will sail on port tack at night," he said in a call this morning. "I trust what I have done but not enough so that I can sleep at night. During the day I will sail on starboard and keep an eye on the mast. This means it will take me longer to get to Salvador, but my main goal is getting there safely."

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Brad Van Liew, Class Two Winner ©Mark Pepper/Marinepics

And it was in sparkling sunshine that Brad Van Liew sailed Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America across the finish line in Salvador to take line honors in Class 2. His official finish time was 12:16:56 local time (15:16:56 GMT). To say that Brad did yet another horizon job on his fellow competitors is a major understatement. While Brad was approaching the finish line his closest rival, Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal, was a distant 800 miles to the south. It was another superb performance by a man who has turned out successive back to back wins since the race started six months ago (today). He is the only competitor in this event that has won all four legs and in doing so matches a record set in 1991 by Frenchman Yves Dupasquier. "Fortunately Clipper Ventures added another leg to this race so I have a chance to set a new record," Brad joked.
Brian Hancock/ISAF News Editor
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