Sunday, May 17, 2009

Volvo: grrr...Lobster Pots Stop Green Dragon

The Volvo fleet took off from Boston for Galway Saturday. A sentimental reverse voyage to me because my great grandfather Thomas Costello came to New York from there. And probably the same for the Curtises from County Clare, which explains my mother's name.

Traveling on a Volvo 70 is not very different from a famine ship: below decks most of the time, probably sick as a dog in rough seas, cause there are skylights but nothing you could call a port hole. So you spend most of your time in the amenity-less haven of pipe bunks and gear below deck. Click on the thumbnails to get a closeup view.

Getting out of Boston Harbor was tricky - with the tanker Nor'Easter blocking the way, as the picture shows. And then the dread with which we all live Down East: lobster pots.

The skipper of Green Dragon - the Chinese-built Irish-crewed boat reports:

Green Dragon - Ian Walker (Skipper)

Why did I have to mention the threat of lobster pots yesterday? Today as we rounded Cape Sable off the Southern tip of Nova Scotia we were confronted by hundreds of them and to make matters worse, it was low tide and the lines were slack with little or no pattern.

After zig zagging our way through with a lookout forward we eventually hooked one on our leeward daggerboard. Five minutes later we had three of them entangling us. After backing down and clearing two of them we realised one line had sawn its way through the leading edge of the port daggerboard. We managed to raise the board and cut it free but we are left with a 250 cut in the laminate of our daggerboard one metre up from the tip. The rope we hit must have been over a metre below the surface!

We cannot leave the board in this state or the laminate will peel away and the board will start to disintegrate. Right now the watch system is on hold and we have four teams of people working onboard. Two people are sailing the boat as fast as they can with no daggerboards, three people led by Neal are working to repair the damaged board down below and three people led by Damian are working to swap the windward board end-for-end into the leeward case and two people are eating or resting.

Hopefully we will have the daggerboards reversed and can sail at 100% in the next hour and the port daggerboard can hopefully be fixed before we have to go upwind. This is a big disappointment as we were in sight of 5 boats and sailing well. We can only hope that we don't lose touch with the fleet and live to fight another day.

Got to go and help.


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Images: Taisy