A broken arm, a dislocated shoulder joint and various problems with torn sails and broken fittings have caused a stir on the boats of the transatlantic fleet over the past two days. With less than 980 miles to sail, "Mari-ChIV" has taken the lead again.
Robert Miller's gigantic 140-foot schooner, which sails under the British flag, has a lead of 30 nautical miles over its fiercest competitor, the New Zealand “Maximus”. Both ships steer an east-northeast course in order to navigate as close as possible to the great circle - the optimal line across the Atlantic. At the same time, however, they must not go too far north in order to continue to benefit from the westerly current of a low pressure area lying ahead.
This low will probably drag the top duo to the finish line at the entrance to the English Channel. With an estimated Etmalen of a good 400 miles, they should reach it Wednesday evening. Then the record set by the “Atlantic” almost exactly 100 years ago would have been broken.
Quite different concerns plagued many participants in the rest of the field. The worst hit was Mal Parker, who was on board as a trimmer for Peter Harrison's "GBR Challenge" during the last America’s Cup. During the maneuver on Harrison's “Sojana”, his left arm got into the winch, which then broke. The yacht immediately departed for Newfoundland so that the injured person could be flown from there to the nearest hospital.
With the permission of the regatta management, the “Sojana” has now resumed the race. In the performance cruiser class 1, however, it is now almost 500 miles behind the class leading “Windrose of Amsterdam”, albeit on a par with the US yacht “Amenos”.
Bill Buckley, co-owner of the Maximus, also got off with some wounds. Last Friday, he dislocated his shoulder after falling. The yacht had to stand before the wind for a while so that the injured could be cared for. The "Maximus" lost the lead.
But that's not all of the bad luck on board the Kiwi yacht. As "Maximus" second owner Charles Brown reported, there were also technical problems. Suddenly a switch for the swivel keel went crazy and wanted to lever the ballast on the wrong side. An electronic security system was just able to avoid this by sounding the alarm. The crew had just recovered from the horror when the mainsail above the first reef tore and had to be repaired
"Mari-ChIV" was also diligently repaired. The mainsail sled, which was initially only sparsely repaired, continues to cause problems that could not be completely eliminated. The crew hopes that he will hold out until the finish.