Fast and Furious
The Ireland to Sweden leg of the Volvo Ocean Race got off to a flying start, with the VO70s storming down the coast and reaching surfing speeds of up to 30 knots. It started off, unsurprisingly, with Ericsson 4 leading the fleet closely followed by Puma and Telefonica Blue. At the back of the field was Telefonica Black which had gambled on a more offshore route, along with Delta Lloyd and Green Dragon. This proved to be a better long term option and it was the Irish boat that found itself in first place as the fleet approached the Fastnet Rock.
There was a bit of chaos as the boats rounded, with both Puma and Ericsson 4 struggling to gybe in very challenging 35 knot conditions, which left Torben Grael’s boat on its side. It recovered but was left with a broken wheel, a lot of water on board and a pretty big area of delamination between hull and the deck. As Marstrand is just a pit stop with no assistance allowed, it will mean a tough time for the Ericsson crew when they arrive in Sweden. Great surfing pic from Rick Tomlinson and more here.