Walker’s bid on the rocks

Skipper Ian Walker welcomes Anthony Nossiter from Australia as Helmsman/Trimmer for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race)
Skipper Ian Walker welcomes Anthony Nossiter from Australia as Helmsman/Trimmer for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. (Credit: IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race)
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Warsash skipper Ian Walker faces a race against time to keep his Volvo Ocean Race alive.

Delays in shipping his damaged yacht to this weekend’s restart in Brazil have left his participation in doubt.

The largely British-crewed Azzam was forced out of the fifth leg of the round-the-world race – from New Zealand to Itajai in Brazil – after suffering a major structural failure in the Southern Ocean.

The Abu Dhabi entry diverted into the Chilean port of Puerto Montt where it was loaded aboard a ship.

However, bad weather delayed its arrival in Itajai until yesterday morning – two days later than planned.

Now the team’s shore crew have to carry out a three-day repair in less than 48 hours if Azzam is to start tomorrow’s in-shore race and then make the restart for the leg to Miami on Sunday.

Team director Jamie Boag said: ‘We’re right up against it.

‘Some things we can control, some we can’t.

‘Resins have cure times. There is a limit on the amount of people who can actually work in a confined space and there are only a certain amount of hours in the day.

‘We are also conscious of the old adage “more haste, less speed’’. The repair has to be seaworthy.

‘Will we make it? It won’t be for the lack of trying.’

Walker, who has won two of the five in-port races to date, added: ‘We don’t look back, only forward.

‘For us now the important thing is to try to show how strong our team is by winning one or two of the remaining off-shore legs.’

n Rising stars of the British Transitional Squad, Eilidh McIntyre and Katie Tomsett, have been showcasing their promise in the 470s at the two-day RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series in Weymouth.

Hayling McIntyre – racing with Amy Seabright – and Portsmouth’s Tomsett – with Joanna Freeman – finished second and third respectively to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark.

n Portsmouth skipper Juan Coetzer has recovered from the drama of the last leg of the Clipper Race, which saw two of his Geraldton Western Australia crew airlifted to hospital, by leading the fleet down the west coast of Mexico towards Panama yesterday.