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Race Dispatches
From Race Veteran Tracy Edwards
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The Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002
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Leg 2: Cape Town, South Africa, to Sydney, Australia

Dispatch 3: Make or Break in the Southern Ocean | Dispatch Archive
November 25, 2001

[Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit field dispatches.]

The crews of the Volvo Ocean Race have now been at sea for two weeks in this the second—and arguably the toughest—leg of the race. This is the leg between Cape Town and Sydney that everyone looks forward to with a mix of dread and excitement. You know you are going to be wet, cold, and miserable for a month. But you also know that if the conditions are right as you skirt around the Antarctic, that it could be the “ride of a lifetime”.

The crews had hoped to keep dramas to a minimum on this leg, but their wish has not been granted. We have seen more dramas unfold in these two weeks than on the entire first leg.

The news that Team Tyco had rudder failure and had to turn back was truly heartbreaking for this fine boat and crew. One of the crew, the Irishman Damian Foxall, a single-handed Figaro sailor, was also on board Play Station when she withdrew from the Millennium Race. He has been trying to get down to the Southern Ocean for a long time, and it must have been a bitter blow to turn back. Definitely my favorite at the start. I still think that with the new points system in place, Team Tyco can get back into the race. They will ship the yacht to Sydney and fit a new rudder.

With the possible changeover of yachts winning points on this leg, Team Tyco may not have lost too much.

The monohull record has been in danger of collapsing to SEB and the boats are moving at phenomenal speeds. Illbruck, Assa Abloy and Team News Corp can be proud of their boats’ performances in recent days. They are as close as it’s possible to get in this race. The choice of Neal Macdonald as new skipper of Assa Abloy has obviously paid off, and they are back in the race.

If Keith Kilpatrick [who is suffering from a severe infection] has to be taken off Amer Sports One it will mean more work for the rest of the team, but it shouldn’t slow them down. Grant is a tough leader and always instills a huge loyalty and drive in his teams. He seems well pleased with this one.

The girls have remained silent on their boat’s poor performance, and it will be interesting to see what the problem has been when they break their silence. It would seem there is definitely something wrong with their boat speed. Although the past 24 hours has seen them pick up again.

It will be interesting to see the tactics that the boats use over the coming days of make or break in the Southern Ocean. People will be getting tired and it’s easy to make mistakes.

—Tracy Edwards

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Team Tyco at the start of leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race. The ship’s rudder later broke, sending the team limping back to port.   Photograph by Rick Tomlinson

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