by Richard Crockett
Are Wiig has displayed an exemplary show of seamanship by sailing his dismasted yacht, Olleanna, over 400nm to Cape Town after being rolled.
In an age where people are too quick to hit the ‘HELP’ button, Wiig gritted his teeth and reached the safety of land under his own steam.
Peter Muller, one of the Capetonians to have waited up to welcome Wiig when he docked at the Royal Cape YC reported: “His boat took a hell of a beating. The mast had broken in at least two places and the pieces were lashed down on deck. She had a cracked deck and popped porthole. Wiig said that the cracks and damage on the starboard side went right through the boat. He had only seen this type of damage before in his work (as a yacht surveyor) when boats had fallen over onto concrete when stored on land.
Recounting the fateful episode, Wiig said he was hove-to at the time and had just started repairing his self steering for the second time in two days. He was standing in the companionway working on repairing a part in the vice mounted on the top of the companionway. There was no warning. The boat got lifted up on a big wave and then dropped down.
Olleanna also suffered a bent pushpit and had only partial steering. Wiig managed to fix the self -steering and used it with his jury rig so that he could get some sleep. His main fuel tank was contaminated and he only had 15 litres of diesel in day tank, which gave him 20 hours of slow motoring.
Additional race news is as follows:
• Francesco Cappelletti missed the start of the GGR by 21 days and has been following the fleet for the adventure, is now following in Cousot’s wake to Brazil after the Italian reported last week that the self-steering wind vane on his Endurance 35 007 had broken. He has the same Beaufort Lynx wind vane that cost Palestinian entrant Nabil Amra and Frenchman Philippe Péché their races after weld failures on the vertical articulating arm proved unrepairable at sea.
• Race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede predicts October 3 as ETA at Hobart Gate
Van Den Heede continues to belie his age (he turned 73 last month), continues to steam ahead of the fleet. Her last position report showed she has a 900 mile lead over Dutchman Mark Slats. In an area of the Southern Ocean where you expect westerly winds, Slats reported this morning “HEADWINDS AGAIN 20 [knots from the] EAST. UNREAL THIS. WHERE ARE THOSE WESTERLIES?
By contrast, tracking data shows Van Den Heede making 7.1 knots in the right direction and a run of 128 miles over the last 24 hours.
• In his weekly conversation with Race HQ, Slats, like Cousot, said that he rued not having roller furling headsails. Now down to 38°S and on a SSW heading, the wind chill factor takes air temperatures well below freezing. Without gloves (Slats realised he had left them behind two weeks ago) hanked sail changes have to be performed with bare hands. Head winds apart, this could be why he has been losing ground to 3rd placed Irish skipper Gregor McGuckin and Uku Randmaa.
During the past week, Gregor has closed the gap by 160 miles and the 4th placed Estonian, who found that he set sail without tea, coffee and a hat, is 86 miles closer.
• The other big winner is Indian Abhilash Tomy sailing his Suhaili replica Thuriya. He was making a remarkable 10.1knots having covered 194 miles during the same period. This is the best distance recorded so far, helped by a 3.1 knot westerly current.