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Estrella Damm Back in Action

Today Estrella Damm’s luck has begun to turn. After several long days of no wind, the boat has wriggled out of the Doldrums and is once again sailing at pace, clocking up a maximum boat speed of 17 knots today. Separated from the race leaders by hefty 472 miles, skippers Guillermo Altadill and Jonathan McKee now face the challenge of clawing back some of the miles they lost but are far from giving up.

A new day has not only brought breeze, but has seen a change in attitude for the two sailors with previous emotions of despair now replaced with new-found resilience and the determination to get back into the pace of the Barcelona World Race.

Yesterday afternoon, while stuck in the Doldrums Guillermo said, “I know very well that these races have their ups and downs, and we have been stuck in a down, but things will improve because they have to. At the moment there is a rather large gap between us and the race leaders, but this race is like a marathon and we are not even a quarter of the way though. We must continue to fight, to endure and to be patient and wait for the opportunity to take back some of the distance we have lost. We are confident that these opportunities will come.”

Trouble with the team’s on board watermak e r has also kept the two sailors busy as they worked to fix the problem. Jonathan McKee was liaising with the Estrella Damm shore team to get the equipment functioning. “When we first had trouble with the watermaker we ran a series of checks and determined that there was a problem with the water getting into the system,” Jonathan explains. “We did a series of further checks and eventually replaced the unit in full. If we hadn’t been able to fix the problem we would have had to consider making a stop which would have been hugely disappointing for me personally, not to mention the further damage it would have done to our competitive position; but, we’ve got buckets of fresh water now and are drinking like fish!”

Jonathan also took the time to reflect on the time Estrella Damm spent trapped in the light airs of the Doldrums. “It was one of the hardest three days of my life. We have spent most of the time either becalm e d (much of last night) or in light headwinds with a bad seaway, with only intermittent periods of good sailing breeze to allow us to escape this hell on earth. Each time we would get a good southwest wind we would say, ‘ok here we go at last’ only to have it disappear within an hour and we return to the DOLDRUMS. A heinous place. I have never been 500 miles behind anyone, although I have sailed lots of bad races in my day.We need to find a way to get back to within striking distance, without taking any huge risk that could take out of contention permanently. Never say die.”

Guillermo Altadill also agrees that despite recent difficulties on board neither he nor Jonathan Mckee are ready to throw in the towel. “We’ve had a hard run over the last few days and we have lost distance to the leaders but we’re not giving up. The boats ahead will be more conservative, but we cannot afford that luxury and will be pushing on a t full pace.”

Day 18 – November 28, 16:00 GMT – Position report with distance to leader

1. PRB – Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE – 0.0
2. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 – Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL – 10.1
4. DELTA DORE – Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET – 204.4
5. HUGO BOSS – Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE – 220.1
6. TEMENOS 2 – Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET – 254.4
7. MUTUA MADRILENA – Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO – 274.0
8. ESTRELLA DAMM – Guillermo ALTADILL / Jonathan MCKEE – 472.0

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 2:15 pm and is filed under International Sailing, Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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