81.4 F
Cruz Bay
Wednesday, October 5, 2022


"The unluckiest race I've ever sailed," said Ken Read, captain of Idler, the big boat of the U.S. team. The 225-mile race on Friday and Saturday provided time for almost every possible misfortune to befall Idler and her crew, including Peter Holmberg of the V.I.
A few minutes after the start of the race, scheduled to take about 44 hours, the entire hi-tech instrumentation package aboard the boat shut down. Some time later, noting sluggish performance and falling behind the other boats in their class, the crew discovered and removed a fifty-foot length of fat rope caught on the bottom of the boat.
The determined crew put forth great effort and spent the dark hours of Friday slowly catching and passing the seven other boats in class. While leading the class through the English Channel, Idler sails into a windless "hole" and the boats behind sail by in breeze on either side of the cursed spot.
Idler again slowly worked her way toward the front of the pack of top notch Grand Prix fifty footers. The tide was running against the boats and all the fleet was tacking very close to the shore.
Read explained, "We were just turning to tack off the beach when we hit a rock. The boat was sailing at 7.9 knots and stopped dead. We wrecked it. We tried to move England."
"I went through the wheel and went head over heels into the coffee grinder winch. Everyone went flying. We were real lucky we didn't hurt anyone," Read detailed the incident, "We hurt the boat though, the engine box moved, the keel bolts moved and we have broken keel frames. We're hauling the boat tonight (Saturday) and we'll be working around the clock to be back on the starting line on Monday morning."
After surveying the damage, the crew decided to continue racing and again worked to the front of the class. Passing everyone, and thinking they could still win the race if they can continue to stretch a lead in the remaining twenty miles of race course, Idler discovers the race has been shortened by fourteen miles.
Keith Taylor, press officer of the U.S. team reported that Read related this story with a wry grin, which shows the kind of spirit these sailors have after one race containing a year's worth of problems.
The other boats on the U.S. team, although leading in the first hundred miles of the race, dropped back in the second half. This leaves the U.S. in fifth place at the mathematical midpoint of the regatta.

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