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TEAM ABN AMRO | VOLVO OCEAN RACE | Leg 7 | New York - Portsmouth - Great Brittain

Crew TWO speak at the press conference

23 May 2006
by James Boyd of The Daily Sail
Following an emotional reunion with family and friends upon their arrival in Portsmouth yesterday evening, so this morning the entire crew of ABN AMRO TWO assembled to recount the extraordinary and tragic events that have befallen them since Thursday morning: the terrible loss of Dutch crewman Hans Horrevoets after he was washed overboard and then going to the rescue of the stricken Spanish Volvo 70, movistar.

Proceedings were opened by Team ABN AMRO Technical Sailing Director Roy Heiner who thanked ABN AMRO for their efforts and in providing assistance to the Horrevoets family. “We hope this press conference will give us an opportunity to promote seamanship and safety on the ocean. This team behind me has been fantastically courageous. I am deeply respectful of every single member of this team. As Team ABN AMRO we are extremely proud of them,” he said pointing out the crew of the white boat.

Over the next few minutes the crew recounted what had happened in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The facts
At just after 0200 GMT with a building breeze the ABN AMRO TWO crew had undertaken a sail change, from the masthead spinnaker to the fractional one better suited for the stronger conditions forecast. During the sail change the wind had piped up from 12-14 knots to 25. As the crew were sorting the boat out following the change so the crew were in the process of taking turns to go down below to put on their lifejackets and harnesses. At the time skipper Sebastien Josse was on the helm as Hans Horrevoets was trimming the spinnaker.

Unfortunately as spinnaker trimmer in charge of the most important sail flying at the time, Horrevoets was the last to go down below to put on his lifejacket and harness. Before he had the opportunity to do this ABN AMRO TWO buried her bow deep into a wave.

Luke Molloy recounted his version of events: “I was down below putting on my foulweather gear and harness. While I was doing that with George [Peet], the boat nosedived - you could feel it inside - and heeled a little bit to windward. The boat stopped and you could hear the water coming down the deck. The next thing you know the boat had levelled out, the sail was flogging, you could hear it shaking the whole rig in the boat. Seb screamed ‘man overboard - everyone on deck’. I threw my harness on and flew up the hatch.”

Exactly how Horrevoets was washed overboard remains unclear. It should be remembered at the time it was pitch black, in the middle of the night in strong wind with a large amount of water washing down the deck. Simeon Teinpont who was in the cockpit manning the grinders gives some indication of how disorientating this was: “Water swept over the deck. Then we realised Hans was gone because the spinnaker was flapping. We were grinding it on and nothing was happening.”

Immediately the alert had been raised down below Simon Fisher punched the ‘man overboard button’ recording the exact position at the time on the GPS. Meanwhile on deck crew raced to the stern to deploy the Jon Buoy, a special man overboard marker with a light and lifebuoys Horrevoets could swim to to help keep him stay afloat.

The emergency procedure for such a man overboard is well practised among all the crews in the Volvo Ocean Race. On board ABN AMRO Two each crew had a specific role. The first job was to stop the boat, at the time still hurtling downwind at 25 knots.

“These boats sail very very fast, so we cover a lot of ground very quickly,” recounted Simon Fisher, adding that by this time the wind had piped up to 37 knots. “But we were only 1.6 miles away from Hans when we had the spinnaker down, the staysail furled, the daggerboard down so we could go upwind and the boat was turned around and heading back. It was really impressive what we did then.” Impressively the crew kept their head and performed the emergency stop in record time.

With so much wind they were forced to drop the mainsail and turn the motor on to get them back upwind, using the GPS to help get back to the spot Horrevoets had fallen in.

Simon Fisher resumes: “the guys on deck had search lights at the ready. Simeon was in his dry suit so he could get in the water if we needed him to. When we were about half a mile away from the MOB position we found a life ring we’d thrown over the side. 0.5 miles from the spot we found another lifering and then 0.2 miles from the MOB spot, we found the Jon Buoy and shortly after that we found Hans.”

On their second attempt with the help of Simeon Tienpont in his dry suit they were able to get Horrevoets body on board and as some of the crew kept the boat as stable as possible motoring downwind so George Peet led a group attempting to resuscitate Horrevoets using CPR as they simultaneously tried to warm him up. All this time they were in communication receiving advice from doctors at Derrisford Hospital in the UK. Sadly they were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive Horrevoets.

At present Horrevoets cause of death has not been established and will be determined until an autopsy is carried out in Holland.

Lucas Brun summed up the sentiments of all the crew. “It is a very tough situation to deal with. You are seeing the person who was joking with you and talking with you and the next thing you know you are dragging him out of the water. There is nothing that can prepare you for that. Then you have to sit on deck and you are doing your watch. Normally you are doing your watch with four persons but one of your watches is only three. You just can’t imagine it.”

To compound their problems, on Saturday a request for assistance was received from movistar. The Spanish Volvo Open 70’s keel was showing signs of being about to fall off and ABN AMRO TWO was the nearest available vessel to come to their rescue. Despite their ordeal the white boat crew did not think twice about going to their assistance of their fellow competitors.

movistar's crew rescue
“We had obviously been through quite a lot but as soon as I heard those words, I just wanted to make sure those guys were safe as well,” said Nick Bice. “Having a lot of friends on board it was something really kind of makes your heart sink. There was nothing more in my mind than to get those guys off that boat.

On Sunday morning with a 50 knot gale forecast, the relieved crew of movistar were transferred between the boats by liferaft. They were subsequently taken off by RIB yesterday morning when ABN AMRO TWO stopped off Falmouth. At the same time the body of Hans Horrevoets was transferred to a Dutch frigate to accelerate the process of returning him to Holland and his family.

Future
Over the next few days the ABN AMRO TWO crew will decide upon whether they still want to continue in the Volvo Ocean Race after their tragedy on board. However there are stipulations to this says Roy Heiner. “The sailors will decide whether they compete in the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. We decided to leave the choice to them. But they have to do it as a team - we will not allow the team to be split. So it is a possibility they will sail or they will not sail.”


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5/22/2006 3:22:06 PM GMT


At 08:37 GMT this morning near Falmouth, the body of Hans Horrevoets was transferred to a Royal Netherlands Naval frigate from ABN AMRO TWO. In winds of 25 knots, French skipper Seb Josse and his crew bid an emotional farewell to their much loved friend and team mate. They held a minute of silence as Hans was taken off the boat to the Dutch frigate, HNLMS van Galen. His body will now be taken back to his home town of Ter Heijden, in the Netherlands, for repatriation and a funeral with family and friends.

TEAM ABN AMRO

© TEAM ABN AMRO | Jon Nash - www.abnamro.com/team

TEAM ABN AMRO

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Movistar abondan ship

Sun, 21 May 2006 10:20:19 UTC
Following a night of fighting their keel problems after the aft end of their keel pivot bearing broke away from the hull, Bouwe Bekking and his crew have abandoned their vessel and have safely transferred to ABN AMRO TWO which has been standing by since approximately 2200GMT last night.

The crew used the liferaft to transfer safely between the two yachts. Bekking ((NED), and his crew, Andrew Cape (AUS), Chris Nicholson (AUS), Jonathan Swain (USA), Mike Joubert (RSA), Noel Drennan (IRL), Pepe Ribes (ESP), Peter Doriean (AUS), Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and Fernando Echavarri (ESP) are now all safely aboard ABN AMRO TWO and are heading for land.

The transfer was completed in the eye of the low pressure system that is passing over, when winds dropped to seven knots. The forecast is for winds of up to 50 knots to come in from the west imminently, which hastened the decision to abandon movistar.

Throughout the night the crew of movistar had worked to stabilise their Volvo Open 70 by securing the 4,500 kg canting with ropes, and had achieved some degree of success. They had managed to keep the water ingress under control and even apply some cant to enable the boat to make progress towards Lands End. At the time the crew transferred to ABN AMRO TWO, they were 307 miles north, north west of the south western extremity of England.

Food and personal items were transferred with the crew. movistar has been left with her generator running and her Sat C communications system operational so that she can be tracked for as long as possible.

Outside assistance was on its way to the two yachts, the Royal Navy having immediately responded to a request for help by sending the Fisheries Patrol vessel HMS Mersey, a River Class Offshore Patrol vessel from Milford Haven in Wales. HMS Mersey is heading for a rendezvous with ABN AMRO TWO with all possible speed, should be with them in about eight hours and will shepherd then to the nearest coast.

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ABN AMRO ONE wins Leg 7...By James Boyd of The Daily Sail


ABN AMRO ONE arrived in a windswept GunWharf Quay in the early hours of this morning her crew in sombre mood.

Under normal circumstances Sanderson and his fellow crew men would have been celebrating three years of hard graft coming to fruition: aside from winning leg seven from New York by a clear margin, the seven points they have won for this leg makes them now unbeatable in the Volvo Ocean Race despite there still being two legs and two in-port races still to go. As a sporting achievement their win is a superb one and the champagne should have been flowing.

In the event Sanderson, along with the rest of the ABN AMRO ONE crew, are still in a state of shock following the loss of their fellow team mate Hans Horrevoets washed overboard from ABN AMRO TWO three days ago. Far from lavishing on champagne, Sanderson could not bring himself to open the bottle and give his crew the traditional victor’s dowsing.

“That whole thing has been in our heads and it is going to be so much harder for us tomorrow, because we’ve had to look after our own lives and our own boat and get it here in one piece,” admitted Sanderson. “Tomorrow when we wake up in normal beds and realise we have lost a team mate – that’s when it’s going to get tough.”

Leg seven of the Volvo Ocean Race has not been as described in the brochure. Race pundits were expecting this to be the leg where records would tumble, the first Volvo Open 70 to cover 600 miles in a day, etc. While the teams should have been basking in favourable following winds, the first five days of the leg were spent sailing into the wind, the slowest and most uncomfortable point of sail, the miles from New York ticking off at half the expected speed.

On day four, while passing Nova Scotia, ABN AMRO ONE made a bold and ultimately race winning tactical move to sail almost 60 degrees off course to the southeast, effectively going from one side of the race track to the other but dropping from first to last position in the process. “We’d worked ourselves into a nice little lead and then we took everyone’s transom [ie passed behind them] expect a couple and made a tactical decision to bank on the south and it paid. Any of the four of the boats in the front could have got where we got to and I don’t think we would have managed to overhaul them.”

By making this bold move, allowing them to sail into stronger wind from a more favourable direction, ABN AMRO ONE not only regained the lead but extended this to 200 miles as the boats headed across the North Atlantic Ocean.

It was last night in an area of North Atlantic called the Western Approaches (to the English Channel) that conditions became especially heinous, with winds greater than they had experienced to date in the race, including the normal vicious Southern Ocean. But while the wind was strong it was the extremely short steep waves drummed up by the winds combined with the sharp shelving up of the sea bottom in this area that was causing most concern.

“In a westerly the whole Atlantic is coming into the English Channel. In the Southern Ocean you get waves bigger but they are longer and there is more slope to them and you can go roaring down them,” explained Sanderson. “These ones last night, the boat decided she was going to exit them at about 90 degrees and there was just nowhere to go and it was pretty scary.” Even with a tiny amount of sail up, the least they had carried in the entire race, their speed was still hovering around 20 knots with occasional bursts up to 30. Launching off these waves, Sanderson described as “the biggest he’d seen”, ABN AMRO ONE would come crashing down, the whole boat shaking and awash with water. If there is such a thing as boat breaking conditions, these were they.

At 1224GMT Saturday ABN AMRO ONE passed the scoring waypoint off the Lizard, a headland on the southern Cornish coast to pick up the maximum 3.5 points and followed this up with a further seven when she crossed the line off Portsmouth at 2330GMT.

“It feels unbelievable, a childhood dream, my Mount Everest” said Sanderson of their race win. “Obviously we’ve got another stopovers to celebrate the win which is a good thing, because this is the first time that we’ve hit land since we’ve lost Hans. This is a sporting event and that is his life. So the winning of the Volvo will have to come after I’ve dealt personally with Hans. I have been leading the sailing team. That is my role in the campaign and I’ve lost one of my men.”

For navigator Stan Honey, who Sanderson describes as the smartest man he has ever worked with, the race win also had yet to make an impression. “I am excited at winning, but it hasn't sunk in because we are only used to thinking of what's next - we never think of the broader picture. In the next couple of days we will realise what we've done,” he said.

While ABN AMRO ONE have the overall race win secured, they will continue to compete in the remaining legs and in-port races until the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenberg, Sweden on 17 June.

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ABN AMRO ONE wins Leg 7 and Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 | 21 May

TEAM ABN AMRO
© TEAM ABN AMRO | Jon Nash - www.abnamro.com/team

TEAM ABN AMRO

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Log 122 Mike Sanderson: Stressful hours of darkness

20 May 2006 06:25 UTC
The hours of darkness have been super stressful. We ended up with small blast reacher on and a triple reefed main, still trying to keep the boat under 27- 28 knots so it wouldn't hurtle out of the next wave. Max wind speed 51 knots, seas getting pretty massive as we are getting closer to the English channel... 165 miles to the Lizard and about 150 from there, and yes, I am counting them down, it's time to finish this one...

Talk soon

Cheers

Mike

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team


Log 121 Mike Sanderson: One more night of heinous action

20 May 2006, 00:40 UTC
One more night of heinous action.... that is the forecast that we have given the boys for tonight. We have got a pretty big lead so tonight it will all be about being super conservative and just getting her there. That was the plan also for last night, and we were mentally prepared to take some losses on the position reports, however the wind gods looked after us and gave us a better angle and a bit more wind and we ended up making some nice gains in fact on the fleet. So all in all a welcome bonus.

Today the gains and losses have been all about who is on what gybe. We have headed all the way over towards France to take advantage of a wind shift that we hope we will get in the night that will bend us down towards Land’s End and the scoring gate off the Lizard. As I write this we have got 315 miles to go, and then about another 150 up to Portsmouth, hopefully we can get in to Portsmouth at a sociably acceptable hour, however there are still plenty of obstacles in our way until this one is done.

The mood on board is very subdued as you would expect, the loss of Hans our team member on ABN AMRO TWO still taking up 99% of everyone's thoughts, the boat for that reason is quieter then normal. Also just making everyone just that little bit more nervous is the fact that if we were to finish how we are currently positioned, then we will have won enough points to win the Volvo Ocean race!

So the current forecast for this evening isn't helping the nerves, I so want to win this leg for Hans, the kids are too far behind to do it from there, so the other half of his team have to do it for him, I know he will be watching.

Next time I write we should be very close to England, I have to be honest and say that I am looking forward to getting in, so that the nightmare that this leg has been is over.

Talk soon

Cheers,

Mike

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team


A message from Mike Sanderson

18 May 2006
In a response to the tragic events on board ABN AMRO TWO this morning, Mike Sanderson, skipper of ABN AMRO ONE, said “What a terrible, terrible 12 hours we have just had, hearing the news that Hans had gone over the side and that one of our sailing team was in the water has given us a very sickening feeling. It is a sailor’s worst nightmare.”

“Over the past two years we have grown as a very big family at Team ABN AMRO, and those of you out there that knew Hans will agree with me that he was just the most lovely team player and family man, all we can do here is think of Petra his wife, Bobbi his little girl, the "Bump " in Petra's tummy and the rest of Hans' family, that where so supportive of him being in the race.”

“We have backed off another level, we have gone with a fractional Gennaker and a reef and we will just monitor the pace, for sure we need to be very careful on board as emotions are very close to the surface and I feel the pressure more then ever to get the husbands the dads and the fiancés and boyfriends in to there families in one piece. We have to keep racing though, as otherwise all that Hans has worked for over the last couple of years will be wasted and we know that he wouldn't want that.”

“It's not really possible to deal with it personally out here, so that will have to wait a few days until we get in, we need to now get all the boats safely tied up to the dock after these next few days of windy running and give ourselves time to grieve the loss of a very good friend.”

“To Petra, Bobbi and all of Hans’ Family, I can't say enough how very, very sorry and sad we are and our thoughts and prayers go out too you.”

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team


TRAGEDY ON ABN AMRO TWO


Hans Horrevoets, one of the Dutch crew member aboard ABN AMRO TWO, died earlier this morning after being swept overboard from the boat.
ABN AMRO TWO was sailing downwind in 25 – 30 knots of wind under main, fractional spinnaker and staysail. Seb Josse, Skipper of ABN AMRO TWO was at the helm, Hans, 32 of the Netherlands was trimming the spinnaker sheet, Nick Bice, Andrew Lewis and Lucas Brun were also on deck. The boat nosedived down a wave and water came washing back down the deck, when the water cleared Hans was no longer on deck.
ABN AMRO TWO Navigator Simon Fisher explained the incident, “Immediately Seb hailed a ‘man overboard’ and we initiated man overboard procedures and we put in place the GPS positioning. The boat immediately turned around and began to search for him, meanwhile raising the alarm on shore. After Hans was found he was lifted back on board and the Accident and Emergency(A&E) department at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK was notified that we had a major medical emergency and to stand by. Unfortunaly our attempts to resuscitate him were not successful."
ABN AMRO TWO Skipper Sebastien Josse said, “We are all devastated by the events that took place this morning and all our thoughts are for Hans’ family. Throughout the whole MOB (man overboard) procedure the whole crew handled themselves calmly, professionally and with the utmost maturity. It is with deep regret that we were unable to resuscitate Hans.”
Jan Berent Heukensfeldt Jansen, Managing Director of TEAM ABN AMRO said, “We are all shocked and devastated by this terrible news and our thoughts now are very much with Hans’ family. We are all aware of the risks that sailors face but nothing can prepare you for this kind of tragedy. My thoughts are also with the crew who I understand behaved in the most professional manner and reacted immediately and I wish them a safe passage home.”
Glenn Bourke, Chief Executive Volvo Ocean Race said, “All of us at the Volvo Ocean Race are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of ABN AMRO TWO crew member Hans Horrevoets. At this time our thoughts are with Hans’ family and friends, his fellow crew members and all the members of TEAM ABN AMRO. Ocean racing carries inherent risks and we do our utmost to minimize those risks with the mandatory safety equipment we have on board. However, when an accident like this occurs it is a shock to everyone associated with the race. The Volvo Ocean Race family is a close-knit community and we will all lend whatever support is needed at this tragic time.
The crew are no longer in racing mode but are making their way to Portsmouth as quickly as possible and will make a decision on further participation in the race during the Portsmouth stopover.


TEAM ABN AMRO

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Tragedy on ABN AMRO TWO

18 May 2006 - Portsmouth
Hans Horrevoets, 32, crew member aboard ABN AMRO TWO, died earlier this morning after failing to regain consciousness after being swept overboard from the boat.

ABN AMRO TWO was sailing in five metre seas and 30 knot winds about 1,300 miles from Land’s End, England when Horrevoets was washed overboard at 02.11 hours (GMT). The crew of ABN AMRO TWO immediately turned the boat around, took the sails down and mounted a search and rescue effort. Horrevoets was located and lifted back on board.

However, despite the efforts of fellow crew members to resuscitate him under the direction of medical advisors from Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Horrevoets failed to regain consciousness.

Next of kin have been notified and more details will be released as soon as they become available.

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team



Log 120 Mike Sanderson: Over half way to Portsmouth

17 May 2006, 04:00 UTC
Another relatively straight forward day of sailing. For most of the day we were still making some good gains on the rest of the fleet to the south west of us, it now looks like those gains are going to stop for a while and in fact go the other way a bit as we sail into light airs in front.

Can't complain though, we have gone nicely down here. It was a tough, sleepless night the night we made the decision to tack and take the majority of the fleet’s transoms after having a nice little lead, but for sure it has proven to have been the right thing to do, so a huge relief.

Now over half way to Portsmouth so that is also a good feeling... whoops position report just in 16 mile loss to Ericsson....Bummer, oh well was sort of mentally prepared to take a few hits, the forecast was as such, still 58 in front though, so all good, still by no means does that give us any more assurance, as we have seen these boats are capable of chomping into a lead much bigger then that in one sched!!

I spoke to Dee Caffari today on the phone. She is just about to set a new record around the world for the first women to sail around the world "Backwards" single handed. I think she is coming up to 180 days at sea on her own which is just mind blowing, what an amazing achievement, the single handed race that I did a couple of years ago on Pindar was 12 days long and that seemed like forever and I lost about 6 kgs!! I guess you just have to leave with a different mind set, anyway she sounded great.

I felt a bit silly though when she asked me how our leg had been going and I started to tell her how hard done by we were feeling as a fleet because we had to go upwind for 4 days!!!! Poor Dee has been pretty much upwind against the prevailing winds for 180!! It is looking like she will finish on Thursday and will be back up in Portsmouth in the weekend, which is very cool as we as a fleet should be getting in some time around then, so the Solent will be a hive of activity.

Anyway Dee, from all of us here on Black Betty, congratulations!!! What an amazing achievement.

On the environmental watch, it has been all go today, we have seen three whales, a sun fish and a whole lot more bird activity. It's amazing how much more activity there is around here than there was in the last long leg coming up the coast of Brazil and past the Caribbean. Two of the whales were once again very close (no not quite THAT close) and they came down the side of the boat only about 50 or 60 feet away. I think the speed and efficiency of the Volvo 70 is sneaking up a bit on the whale population, as these two certainly were a little surprised to see us. Let’s hope that we can be the first to sneak up on the lighthouse keeper at the Lizard in a few days.

Talk soon

Cheers

Mike Sanderson

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team


Log 119 Mike Sanderson: Smoking down the Solent

16 May 2006, 02:03 UTC
Well after all our events of yesterday, we where hoping for a little more plain sailing today, and apart from the very puffy conditions wind wise, it has been pretty nice. One of the amazing things of the last 48 hrs has been the temperature changes due to us sailing in and out of the cold water. Two days ago, when we where in the middle of the Labrador current, the water temperature was as low as 4.5 c then yesterday we went through a Gulf Stream eddy and the water was as warm as 19.5 c, no wonder it is often so foggy around these parts.

Our race lately has not only been against the competition behind, but it has also been against the lighter winds that are coming up from behind and that are the reason we have been making some nice gains on the guys a little further back. Ericsson has managed to stay in front of it as well so there will be a few more smiles onboard that boat at the moment which is great. Points wise now overall they can't beat us, so it is great to see them having a good leg to date, and even better to see them in-between us and the Pirates, however it is still way to early to mean anything with just a bit under 2000 miles still to go.

It does look like however that we are in for some fast sailing for a good chunk of the rest of the trip, and as I said it is still too far away to mean much, but right now it looks like the fleet will be flying down the Solent in 25 plus knots of breeze on Saturday, so I am sure that would be great for the spectators. It would be so cool to have a fast finish, so far we have finished in very light airs on every leg, how cool would it be to come smoking down the Solent with gennakers up? But really I am getting ahead of myself, we haven't made it to half way yet miles wise.

The wildlife has been picking up which has been fun, we are still a bit shaken up over having hit the poor whale, it has actually been amazing how few whales we have seen this time, so really unbelievable that we hit one. We have been seeing dolphins again though which is cool, they are always exciting to watch no matter how many times you have seen them.

So for now we are working hard to try and build up a lead so that we don't have to push as hard in the hard running conditions to come, I need to keep reminding myself that we don't have to win, just a good solid finish will do, but that won't make it any easier to see them come past if some guys do go ballistic in the big breeze. But we have to keep the ultimate goal in mind and that is to win the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fingers crossed

Cheers

Mike Sanderson

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team


Having a whale of a time

15 May 2006
Things often happen in threes, and skipper Mike Sanderson and his team onboard ABN AMRO ONE have had three experiences today, out in the Atlantic, which they are not keen to repeat in a hurry.

“There are three things out here that we fear the most,” said Sanderson in a radio interview today. “One is having a tactical decision not pan out and we found ourselves in the north with a weather system changing, so we decided that we had to get out of there, and we rocketed from one end of the leaderboard to the other.

“As we were doing that, the adventures continued and suddenly we realised we were losing keel pressure and we got the awful, sinking feeling that you get on a canting keel boat as we found out we had lost all the oil out of keel system and we were losing cant. We battled with that and we are back up and running now.

“These things happen in threes, and about four hours ago we had the misfortune of hitting a whale. It stopped the boat dead and sheered off one of our dagger boards and has done some damage around the case. We have carried a spare dagger board for the whole race and it looks like it might have paid off. We have managed to stop and put the spare board in and we are back up to speed. The big question for us is: what is the extent of the damage in the case. We can see some cracking on the inside but we are not seeing any movement and it all seems fine at the moment. We’re just playing it semi softly at the moment and not pushing the boat to 100 per cent until we get some comfort back that the structural integrity is there.”

As for the whale? The crew are sure it was a whale that they collided with as they saw its tail slide down the side of the boat. It was dark and there was no way that the whale could see the boat coming or the crew to see the whale in the path of Black Betty. Sanderson says that it appeared to swim away after the accident so hopefully, a few aspirin later, it will be fine!

Adventures at sea aside, for the last six hours, the fleet has continued it’s relentless beat up the north east coast and it has been very cold, foggy and generally miserable. Positions have reshuffled as the fleet tack back and forth and set up for a lane to take them around a high pressure system that is building over Newfoundland.

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Log 104 Simon Fisher: It's cold off Nova Scotia

14 May 2006 13:55
Just when you think it can't get any colder, the temperature seems to manage to drop an extra few degrees out here off Nova Scotia. The strong winds have eased now and have been replaced once more by thick sea fog and freezing air. The condensation has returned once more to the inside of the boat making every surface wet. The only shelter from the cold is in your bunk however there has been little chance to hide from the elements as we tack every few hours up the coast.

It is a tactical game that is being played right now as everyone jostles for position as we set up to cross the ridge of high pressure to get to the fresh northerlies on the other side. Each position report allows us a brief glimpse at what the fleet is doing. From this momentary snapshot you have to fathom out what people have been up to for the last 6 hours and what they will do for the next six. Using your best judgment you then position yourself accordingly and hope your plan works out. In between scheds Seb (skipper Sebastien Josse) and I are forced to man a 24 hour watch on the wind direction in order that we might catch any wind shift available. The constantly oscillating breeze making for little sleep and plenty of worry...

However, for us it is so far so good, we are positioned close to our competitors on the side we want. Hopefully as the breeze starts free off over the next 24 hours we can start to reap some rewards of the last few day’s efforts.

Cheers,

Simon Fisher - navigator

TEAM ABN AMRO

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Log 116 Mike Sanderson: A pretty tricky start

12 May, 2006, 16:13 UTC
Sent: Well unfortunately we didn't get to take a very big bite of the "big Apple", it just came and went too quickly I am sure for everyone's liking, (except maybe the Campaign accountants), but yesterday we motored out of North Cove right in the middle of the City and within some people’s throwing distance from the site of one of the horrific events of 911.

The crowd was great for mid week in NYC and there was a lot of enthusiasm from the City about the race in general. The stop-over was, I am sure, hectic for all the teams, with New York being such a major player in the world of business. It was a big deal for the team’s sponsors and this was made even harder on the sailors after a 450 mile upwind sprint from Baltimore by what, in my opinion, is a crazy rule where the team’s shore crews aren't allowed to work on the boats during a Pit stop. So we had to do this ourselves as well, while our shore crews enjoyed the sights of New York as we all needed them in the city in case we had had a major breakageon the leg and had to take the two hour penalty to get them aboard.

I certainly won't be holding my breath for other Grand Prix sports adopting this rule, I am not sure it would look so professional: a race car driver having to jump out of his car in the Monaco Grand Prix and change all the tyres, fill it up with fuel and carry on. But anyway, rules are rules and it was the same for everyone. For us at TEAM ABN AMRO we had some great opportunities to mix with the staff and clients of both ABN AMRO and La Salle bank.

I have to admit to being really Impressed as to how much knowledge people had about the Race, and there is no doubt that we have left the United States with a feeling that our support team is getting bigger and bigger as people "Get on board" so to speak..

The race start was pretty tricky for us, we thought we were lined up nicely, but the wind was very fluky as we were right under the huge sky scrapers of the city. Anyway just in the last 30 seconds before the start, the wind totally shut off up at our end of the line and we parked there for a couple of minutes while everyone else, apart from the kids who got it worse then us, escaped. The trip out of the harbor was pretty straight forward and soon we found ourselves settling down into a not so bad 15 knot upwind leg. Good old Black Betty enjoys this stuff and she pinned her ears back and we made our way to the front of the fleet.

What should have been a pretty simple night’s sailing for us though, turned into being pretty tricky as three times we had to stop the boat head to wind and get it to go backwards to get rubbish off the keel, each
time it chewing maybe as much as half a mile off our lead, for sure this has been the worst bit of Coastal water that we have sailed in from a rubbish stand point, so come on all the New Yorkers that might be reading this, let’s see if this can be different when we come back here in four
years.

Wildlife wise it has been very quiet. Whenever I see the odd bird up here through in the cold water and the fog, I wonder why he doesn't fly down and hang out with his mates in the Caribbean..

Until tomorrow

Cheers

Mike

TEAM ABN AMRO

© TEAM ABN AMRO | www.abnamro.com/team

TEAM ABN AMRO

© TEAM ABN AMRO - Joh Nash www.abnamro.com/team