Ericsson 3 på väg att sjunka utanför Taiwan

Redaktionen

Redaktionen

Ericsson 3 har tvingats avbryta fjärde etappen av Volvo Ocean Race sedan man börjat ta in vatten från sprickor i skrovet. Samtliga ombord är oskadda och vattenintaget är under kontroll. Båten seglar nu söderut mot Taiwan för att söka hamn och se över skadorna.

– Alla ombord är oskadade och situationen är stabil, rapporterar navigatören Aksel Magdahl.

Det var cirka klockan 08.15 på tisdagsmorgonen lokal tid (01.15 svensk tid) som besättningen på Ericsson 3 upptäckte att de tog in vatten. Man tog snabbt beslutet att sluta kappsegla och vända söderut mot Taiwan 55 sjömil (cirka 100 km) bort.

När man nu seglar med vinden, istället för mot, så har vattentrycket mot skrovet minskat. Som en extra säkerhetsåtgärd har man bett tävlingsledningen om en eskortbåt från Taiwan som kommer ut för att möta Ericsson 3. Strax efter lunchtid, svensk tid, räknar man med att vara i hamn.

Det är på babords sida, framför ett av de vattentäta skotten i fören, som det har blivit sprickor i skrovet. Besättningen har lyckats täta skrovet och vattenintaget är under kontroll. Och man är i ständig kontakt med både tävlingsledningen och teamledningen.

Servicefolk från Ericsson Racing Team är redan är på väg till Taiwan för att ta emot båten och hjälpa till med reparationsarbetet.

– Det är givetvis en stor besvikelse för besättningen att de tvingas avbryta kappseglingen. Men deras säkerhet är det absolut viktigaste just nu. Exakt hur svår skadan är går inte att säga eftersom besättningen inte kan inspektera sprickorna på skrovets utsida, säger Richard Brisius, VD för Ericsson Racing Team.

– Nu måste vi analysera situationen och inspektera skadorna ordentligt. Innan vi gjort det vill vi inte spekulera i olika scenario, säger Richard Brisius.

När olyckan inträffade låg den nordiska båten, med skepparen Magnus Olsson, på andra plats av etapp 4 i Volvo Ocean Race och hade drygt två dygn kvar till etappmålet, Qingdao, i Kina. Spanska Telefonica Blue var i ledningen och Ericsson 4 låg på tredje plats.

Mats Olsson/ERT

E-mail från navigatören Aksel Magdahl:

Then, Martin Strömberg who was on stand-by watch yelled ”We are taking on water!”.

We immediately started the emergency pumps and all the crew set up a chain for bailing with buckets. It was quite dramatic, all of the boat forward of the mast was filled with about 0.5 meters of water, and we did not know where it was leaking from. At that moment we were sinking if we did not find and fix the problem very quickly.

The water was coming in at a high rate, and it took a while to get the level down. As they got the level down, the Jens Dolmer and Richard Mason led crew located the leak and started working to avoid deterioration of the damage, while I communicated our status with the Volvo Ocean Race Duty Office and our team management.

The area was a mess as the garbage bags are being stored in the bow, everything was floating around. There were cracks in the hull and the water was pumping in on every wave. Some guys kept the water out with the pumps while others cut pieces of floorboards and similar to stabilize the area, and cut the sleeping bunks’ frames in correct lengths to hold the plates in place from above, all while the water was coming in. A very handsome piece of emergency engineering.

At the same time we were in phone conference with the Ericsson Racing Team crisis group who were assessing the situation and advising on where to go. We are now headed towards Taiwan, where a group from the shore team will meet us tonight to assess the damage and what repairs must be made.

We are still taking on water, but at a low rate. Two guys are always monitoring the damaged area and yelling when we go too fast or take the waves in a bad way. The repair is fragile.

All the crew made a fantastic effort in quickly resolving this situation, and everyone is still alert and working to get to Taiwan. For some it is starting to sink in that we lost expensive points this morning and that the whole Ericsson Racing Team will have to fight hard to get us back into the race before we lose more points.

We fought so hard through the whole race till now, so the disappointment is huge.

Best from all on E3

E-mail från Gustav Morin (delar):

Maybe it was too late already then. The boat is not in one piece anymore.

Early this morning, we found the bow compartment full of water and soon after that, a four-meter crack and an open hole in the hull.

We were sinking!

The water was pouring in from the hole and the bow section was delaminating. You could feel how soft it had become when you stepped on it we could see it was moving in the waves.

Everyone worked like crazy, pumping, bilging and sponging the water out. As soon as we got most of it out, watch captain Richard Mason and boat captain Jens Dolmer started to reinforce the structure.

We took all the bunks down and cut them up to put them across the bow to strengthen it up. After a couple of hours work, it seemed like we were going to make it.

As soon as the boat started leaking we started heading towardsTaiwan.

Now I’m sitting in my survival suit and all the safety equipment is ready up on deck. If the sea state gets worse again, the reinforcement will most probably crack and the boat will go down quick.

It doesn’t feel like we are in that much danger anyway. We only have 20-miles left to land and the Taiwanese coastguard will soon come out to guide us in and pick us up if the boat sinks.

The worst feeling for the moment is the huge disappointment from pulling out of the leg and the anxiety of how big the consequences will be from the delamination.

’You should have been quicker with your camera,’ Aksel Magdahl said to me earlier, ’it’s not every year that tears are dropping down my cheeks. This is so disappointing’.

We have fought extremely hard on this leg and we were in second place when this happened. Ericsson 4 was close, but the others were miles and miles behind.

But I guess we should mostly worry about keeping the boat above the surface right now. The seas are growing bigger and Jens Dolmer is screaming from the bow again.


Segelreparation och slutkörda grabbar ombord på Ericsson 3, timmar innan de var tvungna att bryta fjärde etappen

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