Chris Stanmore-Major Forced To Make Repairs In Velux 5 Oceans
CHRIS Stanmore-Major has been forced to carry out vital repairs to his yacht Spartan in the middle of the Southern Ocean after a 2.5-metre rip developed in his mainsail. The 33-year-old from Cowes, UK, had been chasing the leading pack in the third sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS solo round the world yacht race when disaster struck.
Despite blasting along through big seas en route to Cape Horn, Stanmore-Major, known as CSM, had no choice but to drop Spartan’s huge mainsail onto the deck to attempt a repair in the freezing, wet conditions.
CSM said: “I was about to change my mainsail from the second reef to the third reef. As I went to pull the reef in one of the screws that holds the mainsail track onto the mast caught on one of the sliders and the main would neither go up nor come down. It took about an hour to sort all that out. I tried to bear away and slow the boat down but by the time I got the slider moving again I looked along the sail and saw a huge rip had opened up in the back of the mainsail. The rip is about 2.5 metres long along the leech and the back 200mm of my sail is hanging off.
“It’s put a real crimp on proceedings. I’ve got the big Solent headsail up but it can’t pull as well the mainsail can push, so where we were doing about 15 knots we’re now doing 10 or 11 knots. It took two days for me to get into this position but now I have to sail a higher angle and that’s going to slow me down considerably.”
Over the past few days CSM, currently in fourth place, had been catching third placed Derek Hatfield, the gap between the two reducing from 160 nautical miles at the beginning of the week to 140 nautical miles yesterday.
“It’s a real disappointment but I’m doing the best I can,” CSM added. “It could be an interesting 24 hours. I’ve got to get the top part of that big mainsail off the boom, control it on the deck, lash it down as best I can then stretch out the ripped section of sail on the deck and get it stuck back together.
“At the moment I’ve got 35 knots on deck coming over the port quarter. The boat is making good speed still so there’s a lot of spray. The sail weighs just short of 200 kilos. I don’t have to move the whole lot but I do have to be very careful not to lose control otherwise it could be disastrous. Although I will lose a bit more ground on the rest of the fleet it is vital that I fix the tear. It’s something that I do once and I do right. Leaving it as it is would just result in the tear getting bigger. It’s just not an option.”
CSM is due to exit the easterly speed gate later today. He has less than 2,000 nautical miles to go until he reaches Cape Horn, the next major milestone on the sprint to Punta del Este in Uruguay.
Ocean sprint three positions at 12h00 UTC:
Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)
Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 2741.7/ 0/ 279.6/11.7
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 2942.2/200.5/251/10.5
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 2974/232.4/ 243/10.1
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3201.5/ 459.8/ 149.8/ 6.2