on boardRace Reportvideovor breaking

the back fell off

We’re not shy about our love for carnage, and the new VOR media system’s tool allowing ‘last minute’ capture of painful moments is pure gold.  Unfortunately for our friends on DongFeng, they get to use it first.  And unfortunately for the supplier of the boats – a/k/a the Volvo Ocean Race – one of the strongest parts of the boat just broke.

So what broke, exactly?  While port is necessary for a real post-mortem (analysis being somewhat difficult at 25 knots of boatspeed), DFRT boss Mark Turner told us five minutes ago that it appeared to be metal fatigue at the aft-most padeye; the one that both the masthead zero and the A3 sheet to.  It’s a piece of steel that should be strong enough for a decade to lift the boat from, and with the above video showing no abuse at all to the part, the other teams, VOR (and more importantly, the roving Boatyard) could be more than a little nervous right now.

The snapped padeye immediately led to the destruction of the starboard wheel, lifelines, stanchions, pushpit, and sheeting strut, and plenty more.  Only luck prevented any injuries and a lot of further damage.  And you know what?  Caudrelier’s merry Chinese/French band is back to sending it, and they’re just a few miles out of the lead!  Know what else?  They could have stayed completely quiet and hoped that their competition had the same problem – a definite possibility given the one-design nature of the boat, and no one would be the wiser.  Massive props to Caudrelier, Turner and the team for showing their character and quality.

Is this our new favorite team?  Watch the video.  And if our title doesn’t make you laugh, that’s not our fault.  Watch this for a little understanding.

UPDATE:  Great new video here from the SCA girls, putting a brave face on a tough first leg performance.  And a great chat between Ken Read and the race leading Ian Walker as his Abu Dhabi 65 goes down the mine.  Laugh at our Senior Editor along with Walker @12:08.