Image © James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race
Team AkzoNobel has been battling strong winds and a nasty sea state over the last 12 hours as the crew powered northwards past the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Navigator Jules Salter (GBR) described the weather scenario causing the heinous conditions.
“We have just had a trough line come over us from the low [pressure (storm)] system that chased us into Cape Horn. As expected, there was a fair bit of wind in it and a very confused sea state.”
The team moved up into third place overnight after Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA) was dismasted while tussling for second place with Dongfeng Race Team.
Team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont sent a message of good luck to the crew of the Danish/American entry who are all safe and motoring towards the Falkland Islands to assess their options.
“They sailed a very nice race through the Southern Ocean and it’s pretty tough for those guys,” Tienpont said. “So hopefully they get it sorted and get in good shape in the Falklands – maybe get a new rig in so they can finish the leg – because we would like to see them on the racecourse again.”
The tough going has resulted in a couple of minor injuries on board team AkzoNobel: a split eyebrow for Simeon Tienpont and a broken nose for boat captain Nicolai Sehested. Both were quickly back in action relatively none the worse for wear.
“Since we rounded Cape Horn it’s been pretty brutal conditions, lots of wind, big waves, reaching,” Sehested explained. “Which make it quite difficulty to live on board; you get bounced about and beaten up by the waves every 10 seconds.
“We have a few injuries on board but nothing too serious and we will keep chipping away and pushing hard for the last few days.”
At 0700 UTC (0900 CEST) this morning team AkzoNobel was in third place behind Team Brunel (NED) and Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) sailing north east at 22 knots (41 kilometers per hour).
Latest estimates suggest team AkzoNobel will complete on Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race on April 4 or 5.