Today we are at sea for 14 days, on our way from Liverpool to Punta del Este, Uruguay. So far, we sailed 3000 nautical miles and have completed 36% of the direct racing distance. We are highly motivated and ready, to react after a shocking experience during after only a few days. From mid-August, we prepared our boat in Liverpool, the boat and ourselves were ready for the 11-month adventure. Good preparation requires a lot of work and we only had very limited time to spend with our friends and families and to enjoy the fantastic pre-race spirit in Liverpool. On Sunday 20th we were waved off by thousands of spectators – what a feeling.
Serious accident on board
After just seven days at sea our journey got interrupted by a heavy hand injury of our Skipper David Hartshorn. For a long time, we were the last boat as we decided to hunt the winds further west than the fleet. Our strategy was risky, but it fully paid off. After some fast sailing days, we were only 1.5 miles behind the leader when it happened. Around midnight of August 27. The big shock. I was off watch and have not witnessed the accident myself, anyhow I don’t consider this to be the right place to go into much detail. In a nutshell, David has injured his thumb heavily while trying to retrieve a spinnaker line dragging in the water.
Consequently, we had to bring David to a hospital as quick as possible. Quite a difficult thing far off the coast, outside of any helicopter reach. Luckily it only took us 12 hours to sail towards Portugal until the Portuguese coast guard could rescue him by helicopter. Shortly after he got the urgently needed surgery. According to last information, he does not need any further surgery and might join us already in Freemantle, Australia again. Without skipper, we continued to sail towards Porto, where we were assigned a new race Skipper, Dan Smith.
The Team catch up
After some repair work we are now heading again to Uruguay. We got penalized for some hours, but due to a quite lucky wind situation we are catching up with good speeds. We have gained massively on most of the boats and virtually we already made some ranks good.
Beside this incident we are having a very interesting and absolutely great time. We are working hard, go through a lack of sleep and increasing temperatures. But our racing routine gets sometimes interrupted by whales or dolphins and beautiful nature sceneries.
Our team works very well, the interim skipper Dan Smith is a great guy, as a person and sailor and we are keen finish this leg with a good result. It is very much remarkable how the team got stronger and recovered from the shock of losing David. You might now think it’s just a thumb injury, but such an accident in the middle of nowhere far away from a hospital is quite a big thing. Also, because we were not knowing for hours, what this meant for David, the team, our campaign – and this just after a few days. However, some questions are answered, the rest I will let you know in the coming blogs.