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The Female Team Amer Sports Too Finishes 5th Leg of Volvo Ocean Race


Amer Sports Too finished leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race today after a week-long battle with the men's crew on Djuice and a host of mechanical problems that for a time left the yacht without instruments.

It was by far the girls' best performance so far in the race. They silenced the critics who contended that they should not be racing with men.

They proved they could sail smart and fast and they could overcome a string of mechanical problems that diverted crew from duty on deck, without seriously compromising boat performance.

Most worrying of the problems was the failure of the watermaker (the yachts do not carry water) in the tropical heat. Then the emergency, manually operated watermaker also broke down.

The generator broke down, cutting the electricity supply, cutting communications, instrument displays, and severely curtailing weather information.

Amer Sports Too crossed the finish line off Miami at 14:03:27 local time.

On the dock Lisa said: “It all started out with a fuel problem. A pump which pumps the diesel from the fuel tank to the generator. We couldn’t resolve that problem, we changed fuel filters, bled the engine and did all the things we were supposed to do.

“We were getting some fuel to the engine but it was using much more fuel than it should have. This meant that we had to use our hand water-maker. After a short time of using that, it broke and we still had over a week to sail to Miami, in very hot conditions.”

To have a broken watermaker is not just annoying but considering how hot it is sailing in the Caribbean and how much water each crewmember needed every day, it could be a healthy threat. They had to use the hand pump to get fresh water. This is not ideal, taking a huge amount of time just to get out a litre. There where some anxious thoughts about having to stop to pick up supplies and being able to throw away a good race. Luckily, after a few days, Abigail Seager managed to fix the water maker.

For the time without instruments sailing well was difficult. Lisa said; “That is sailing back to basics: trimming and driving by feel, guessing win/loss with the competition by watching a bobbing navigation light on the horizon, and only the handheld GPS to tell us how and where we where going.”

This was not what they needed in their close battle against Djuice. This tough match race that started a week ago just got more and more exciting, both for the two boats and friends, family and fans onshore.

A few days ago, Knut Frostad wrote from the boat; “Right now it's harder for us to fight the girls on Amer Sports Too, than it was to get rid of ASSA ABLOY and Tyco on the way into Rio a month ago. Amer Sports Too certainly is fast downwind between 12 and 20 knots. They definitely have an edge on us there.”

Unfortunately the wind eased below 12 knots, during Tuesday, and Djuice took a small lead and kept it until the finish line.

Lisa said upon the arrival, “It was a tough leg. This is the first leg that we were in the competition as it were; right from the minute we crossed the start line. It certainly added a new dimension to our sailing.”

“The whole crew can be proud of their performance. We were certainly under a lot of pressure, some of it being so close to the competition, some of it being in front of the competition at times, added to that we had mechanical problems onboard, not knowing if were going to have power at times. The last remaining six days of the leg put a lot more pressure on the team and their performance and the girls performed fantastically.”

“The boat really has never been sailed so well, and now we have a steep learning curve on what to do with the competition when we’re near them.”

Katie Pettibone, watch leader onboard Amer Sports One said, “It was a really tough race. We sailed out as second from Rio. At one stage we where fifth in the fleet. We are really coming together as a crew and also competitive boat. The other guys will have to look out during the coming legs.”

Current Positions and Yacht Points
1 illbruck 36
3 Amer Sports One 25
4 Tyco 24
5 News Corp 23
6 Djuice 19
7 SEB 17
8 Amer Sports Too 8

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