Telefonica Blue’s shore team worked all night, in the cold of Qingdao, to get Bouwe Bekking’s VO70 back on the race track. For those of you who haven’t been paying looking in, over the weekend, Telefonica Blue suspended racing just minutes ahead of the starting gun for leg five on Saturday afternoon in Qingdao, after running aground and damaging the keel. The boat was hauled out of the water to assess the extent of the damage. Happily, the damage was not critical and the shore crew were able to fix it with a combination of hard work and hot air blowers. By sunrise, on Sunday morning, Telefonica blue was ready to be lifted back in the water at 6 am. Then it was a matter of waiting for the first wind and they were heading for Brazil.
"It could have been way worse," said a relieved Bouwe Bekking. "The good news is there’s no structural damage and I’m just happy that we checked it out. You don’t want to go out on a leg like this where your keel or your bulb could fall off. It’s good news."