“No skipper likes to be woken up to find his boat sailing, on her side, backwards down waves in the pitch black at a fair speed,” said Ben Bowley, skipper of Singapore. The 28-year-old is referring to the situation in which he found himself during the early hours of Tuesday morning following an accidental gybe.
Ben has been dealing with a plethora of problems after the wind increased and his crew struggled to deal with the challenging conditions. “The helm was unable to recover after the gybe and the boat ended up hove-to with the main pinned all the way out on one side and the Yankee headsail pinned all the way out on the other side by the pole,” he said.
This drama came after an earlier accidental gybe left the team’s medium weight spinnaker in tatters as they were preparing to drop it. Ben had opted for the poled out sail plan after the kite damage as a more conservative option.
“This set up was a little slower than we would have wished for, but at least it was safe, or so I thought,” he said. “The issue was further compounded by the fact that the helm had released the wheel in an effort to regain control and the rudder had spun full opposite lock and jammed hard a-port.”
With the main centered and the Yankee dropped, Ben used a hammer to “encourage” the steering quadrant back into place. “Hopefully daybreak will give us the chance to make up some of the ground that we inevitably lost last night while we were reversing around roundabouts in the Southern Ocean,” Ben said.
Gold Coast Australia has pulled ahead from the rest of the fleet as the Roaring Forties proved they deserve their reputation as strong westerlies materialised across the board. Richard Hewson, skipper of Gold Coast Australia, said his team had enjoyed a “fantastic day’s run” as they extended their lead.
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