Telefonica Blue officially suspended racing having reached landfall near Gibraltar last night to undertake repairs to the steering gear they damaged soon after the race start in Alicante. Bouwe Bekking and his crew notified race HQ at 18:53:26 GMT that they had stopped at the port of Algeciras in the Bay of Gibraltar.
They had to serve a 12-hour penalty under the pit stop rule before re-starting.
Telefonica Blue has made its stop. How do I feel? Not very happy, but we have to carry on and see if we can claw back all the lost miles. Still a long way to go, and we know we can sail optimal again.
We were moored overnight in between all the big container ships, as the marina was closed, because of the all the damage a big storm caused 2 days ago over here. The shore crew, formed of Campbell, Maria, Claas, Clayton and Stu have done AN EXELLENT JOB .They set up a temporary workshop, and had a car full of tools with them.
Just after arrival we had a short chat with them, and their wish was to do all the work themselves, and they sent us off to a local hotel for a couple of hours of sleep. Back at the boat at 0630, and they shore crew was just washing the decks off, WELLDONE everybody.
We are now motoring to the place where we stopped, not much breeze, about 4 knots, but so be it. Just over an hour to go, before we can re-start again.
The other boats had a re-start as well and can imagine that the Ericsson boys are feeling sick, as they had an excellent first day, but now got caught up again by the rest
It is particularly gauling for Bekking who's 2005-06 race as skipper aboard movistar was beset by breakages before he and the crew eventually abandoned ship on the transatlantic leg from New York to Portsmouth.
The Dutchman had started the campaign as he meant to go on with back-to-back wins in the Alicante in-port race series just over a week ago.
Meanwhile at the business end of the fleet, the Ericsson stablemates continue to battle it out for the overall lead. Both are through the Straits of Gibraltar. Green Dragon, Telefonica Black and PUMA are squabbling over third place some 25 miles further back as they make the slow approach to the Straits entrance in 8-10 knots of shifty breeze.