Around Alone to go together

With less than a week until the re-start of the Around Alone Race, the 13 boats are all being prepared for the 6880 mn leg from England to South Africa. On Brad Van Liew’s Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, all of the faring plates on the bottom have been sucked off by the high speed of racing. Van View will replace the keel gap seals, daggerboard seals and sail drive seal. The boat is out of the water now for these repairs.

Kojiro Shiraishi has a lot of tough decisions to make in the next few days. His keel attachment point, which underwent extensive repair in Newport, is again coming adrift. The boat went over to another town today for a haulout, and the designer is flying in from France this evening to see what needs to be done in order for Koji to continue. Repairs may take him beyond the start on Sunday, which will be a bitter disappointment for a man who sailed solo from Japan to Newport just to be able to compete.

On Tim Kent’s Everest Horizontal, a team from Brookes and Gatehouse’ home office has spent two days re-wiring what turned out to be a shoddy installation job on the autopilot system. Everything is totally up and running. Local volunteer help have ripped out the windows and are re-sealing and rebedding all of them. The broken spinnaker is in the hospital. The prognosis is poor, unfortunately, and it may be making the trip to Cape Town in the container for repair there. Kent’s arsenal of sails is getting slim – the two-year- old main for a trip to the sailmaker for patching up.