We are about 100 miles west of Cape Town, heading east. We will get back to the dock sometime early this afternoon. It has been good to get out here on the sea for a couple of days and run the boat and all its systems. Everything is working well.

The first day we had the strongest winds, up to 26 knots and we got the boat going 27 knots. While well short of the speeds we were going that first night on leg 1, everything seemed solid. We had a good look at our reaching headsails and spinnakers and recorded some performance information on each that helps us complete our sail cross over chart. The sail cross over chart is a jig saw puzzle looking thing that maps out an area that each sail covers on the wind speed/wind angle matrix.

Next, we slammed our way upwind all night, tacking a few ties and restacking the boat each time to simulate real race conditions for the loads and for our on training. “Stacking” is a chore where we take everything that is on deck and below and move it from one side to the other with the goal of getting the weight as far outboard as possible to add to the stability of the boat. This requires all 10 of us working hard for about 10 minutes to lift 100 kg sails, 25 kg food bags, spares, et. and shift them to the other side. Naturally the boat isn’t sitting there idly but rather inclined 25 degrees and jarring all over the place. Quite a workout!

Yesterday we practiced some in line (without tacking) headsail changes. We have gone to Hanks for attaching the headsails to the headstay rather than the twin foil device for safety in the high wind speed conditions. This takes changes a bit slower as you have to hank on the new sail and un hank the old one. The advantage of this system is that it is safer; you have less chance of loosing a man or sail overboard. The down side is that you sail without a headsail for a the period of time that it takes to make the change. So we worked on some technique to minimize the time required. Next we worked on our snuffer. The “snuffer” is a neat little gadget that allows us to lower a spinnaker and pack it into a “sock at the same time. A bit hard to explain but imagine a large ring at the top of the spinnaker that has a long tube of sail cloth attached to it. This ring and tube just sit at the top of the spinnaker while you use the sail, then when you want to get rid of the sail, you pull the ring down toward the deck with ropes and as the ring slide down gathering the sail inside of it, the “sock” is sliding over the now gathered sail. This makes for a long slender tube or “sock” which has the sail in it. Then we lower the sail to the deck and put that now packed sail into its bag. For short-handed sailing, this is a great tool as it allows for much quicker redeployment of the sail. If you simply drop the sail into the boat like you would on a day racer with plenty of hands available, it would take us a good 30 minutes of hard work for three people to pack the sail and have it ready to re-deploy. This particularly helpful in squalls as you often have to get the spinnaker off for the max gust but shortly there after you need it again. As you can imagine, there is a bit of technique to getting this gadget to work correctly and reliably in all wind strengths and this is something we are still working on perfecting. So we put a few hours in on that. We covered about 600 miles on our little trip off South Africa. Apart from the training that we need to do, we feel more confident in the boat now and the repairs that have been made. The Pearl feels solid and ready to go.

Tomorrow we will be part of the event that our partner Pescanova has organized for 1000 local school children. It will be a four hour program with all sorts of activities for the kids and of course a visit by a Pirate ship and real Pirates. We will have the honour of receiving a blessing from the Archbishop Desmond TuTu as part of the program. It should be a great day in Cape Town for all of us.


Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pearl Sails again! All went well. Tomorrow we go to sea.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

We have had a very good last couple of days here in Cape Town and The Black Pearl is all back together. As per the plan she went in the water today and the team is set to go sailing tomorrow.

Paul Cayard

The Black Pearl Skipper

Most of the Pirate crew arrived in Cape Town yesterday to join the shore team, some of whom have been here since the 25th of November. We have a great set up here again thanks to the help of Pescanova. Our boat is inside a purpose built shed with all of our containers around it forming an operations base which has been named, “Pirate City” by the locals. In fact, we even have our own address; Pirate City, North Wharf V & A Waterfront, Cape Town.

Since November 14th, work on the Black Pearl has been non stop save for about four days to transport the boat to Cape Town. The repairs we had to make were extensive and subsequently, last Saturday, our designers have recommended additional reinforcements in the keel ram support structure, which have added to the list. Additional to these larger repairs, we had our own list of typical work like continuing to waterproof the boat, fine tuning the workings of the galley, improving the reliability of the instruments, reducing friction in sheaves, etc. We have to submit a list to the race committee of all work to be done during the stopovers and today we received the list of work being done by all boats. This is mostly just the major jobs but still the length of list is impressive. I think we are going to have to increase our maintenance budget.

We are pushing hard to wind up the major work by Sunday and put the Pearl back in the water. Our plan is to go for a harbour sail on Monday to make sure everything works and then go for an offshore sail on Tuesday-Thursday. We want to put the boat through a thorough check out in all conditions before leaving for Melbourne.

Yesterday the Ericsson guys gave us the lowdown on what happened with their keel during the leg. It is a bit more of problem than they thought originally and since we have the same hydraulic system, we will be doing a precautionary modification to our system as well.

All in all, we are in pretty good shape. All the teams have a lot of work to do and thanks to the time savings of flying the boat; we are relatively ahead of the group with all the work that needs to be done.

Additional to the good set up for the boat, we have very nice living situation just across from Pirate City and we have our food service within Pirate City so that is very convenient as well.

We have one new crew member joining the team here in Cape Town. Anthony Merrington (AUS) first joined the Pirates of the Caribbean shore crew in early October in Spain. Anthony has more than 120,000 offshore nautical miles of experience and is a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race, having sailed with Team SEB in 2001-2002. Merrington is replacing Freddy Loof who decided to withdraw from the team. Freddy wants to continue to focus on Olympics Sailing and Match Racing. Freddy was a great contributor to the Pirates and we will miss him.

Yesterday, December 7th, we also welcomed another new Pirate; Frederick James Salter (Navigator) arrived at 1025 UTC this morning. He weighed 8 pounds (3.64kg in €). Cabrini and Fred are both doing well and Edward is looking forward to a fight with his new brother.

On December 16th Pescanova has invited 1000 young South African School children to come to Pirate City and meet the team, view the boat and get a bit of insight into this race and what it is like to sail around the world. It is a four hour program and the children will be from all walks of life from the Cape Town area.

Many of our families will be with us for Christmas. I know my children are looking forward to it and I am happy that everyone on the team will have their family here in South Africa; it is a great opportunity. Although I have been here before, it really struck me yesterday flying into the airport, we are in Africa. It is a vast continent… large, arid plains… where human civilization began. It still has a wild frontier like feel to it even though Cape Town is a large and modern City. This is what is cool about racing around the world… seeing all the different cultures.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Black Pearl arrived in Cape Town yesterday, November 27 after an uneventful flight on the Antonov 124. She was then transported to “Pirate City”, in the harbor area, which will be our base of operations for the next four weeks. We again want to thank our partner Pescanova for their generous and useful support to the team by making the flight to Cape Town possible.

The shore team is arriving in Cape Town this week after getting a well deserved week off. Basically they had gone hard since early August without a break. The crew is taking this week off and will arrive in Cape Town December 7th. The goals of this week are for the shore team to install the new wedges and bomber doors for the keel and finish up a few other jobs on the boat. The plan is to be sailing by the 10th and then go offshore on the 12th for a few days of ocean sailing and sea trialing to make sure all is well with the repairs. Leg 2 will be one of the most demanding of the race for both the boat and the crew physically. I don

After properly inspecting the Black Pearl, we are now in a position to report on the damage.

1. Bulkhead C, midway from the bow to the mast, has broken. There was shearing of the frame along with compression of the – vertical beam.

2. The “bomber doors” which seal the Keel box at the hull, have been ripped off.

3. A bolt that holds the keel pins in has sheared

That is the main damage. We also had a complete instrument blackout earlier on Saturday night. This included our computers and therefore I could not write any text so the information coming off our boat may have appeared slow or non existent. I was in telephone communication with race officials.

My priority on Sunday was to get the boat back to land safely. This was not easy as we were caught in a low pressure cell that had formed off the coast of Portugal and we experienced gusts of 50 knots and very rough seas. We sailed with Storm jib and Trisail all day Sunday and Sunday night and at times had to lower the storm jib as there was too much sail area up. It was the windiest and roughest conditions I have been in at least 8 years. As our true wind angle was about 80 degrees, we had breaking waves crashing on the deck at times.

The reason why I don’t want to sail the boat to Cape Town is that it is unsafe to sail without the “bomber doors”. To explain; The keel cants 40 degrees each side of center. The axis of this rotation is 150mm up inside the boat. Therefore there is a hole in the bottom of these boats that is about 400mm (1.5 ft) wide. This hole is the bottom of the keel box which is “recessed” into the boat. The Bomber doors not only make the hull fair as the keel swings from side to side, but they protect the inside of the keel box from high pressure water force. Without them the lid to the keel box and the rubber gaskets that seal the hydraulic ram arms, which actuate the swinging of the keel, are exposed to high pressure water. When we discovered the situation early Sunday morning, the lid to the box was bulging upward and strained the fasteners while water was squirting into the boat due to the 35 knots of water pressure and the rams seals were buldging like cows’ utters. Not one to withdraw from racing easily, in this case, I immediately called for the crew to take all sails down and slow the boat to less than 10 knots.

So this particular damage is not one that can be bandaided. New parts have to be made in the UK and flown to us. This will take over a week. Then they have to be fitted which will take 3-4 days to do well. We might be able to do this and then sail to Cape Town but we would arrive just before the inport race on the 26th, if all went well. If we had another issue along the way we could well miss Leg 2. And why? To gather 2 points?

I have decided not to pursue that option but rather to transport the boat to Cape Town and rejoin the race in an organized and prepared manner. I need to turn this negative into a positive. With my team, we believe we have devised a plan to do that.

The boat will stay here in Portugal until the 25th when it will go by aircargo to Cape Town. We will be working on the boat in the time before it flies and the time after it arrives. We hope to sail again around Decemeber12th for a few days of sea trials offshore.



Pirates of the Caribbeans of the Caribbean

We have now been in port for 36 hours. I know there are a lot of stories, rumors and thoughts going on around the water cooler so I thought I would give you my perspective to add to your daily conversation. A couple of facts first:

1. This is a race on points not time. This is not the Tour de France. This is more similar to the Formula 1 season where over 16 races, Michael Schumacher may not even finish 3 or 4 of the 16 races and yet still win the World Championship. There are 23 “events” in this race ranging in points value from 3.5 to 7. The maximum number of points available to be won is 112.

2. These new Volvo 70’s are high tech machines. They are going to break down. Breaking down is not new to Round the World Racing. We are all learning about what it takes to keep these things together.

3. We are going to return to the race and I feel that we have a good chance to win this race.

Now, how to move forward.

Option 1: Put a bandaid on the boat, sail for three weeks to Cape Town and collect 1.5 points, or possibly a few more points if others breakdown on this leg, arrive 1 day before the inport race, and basically go into leg 2, one of the most difficult legs of the race, beat and not fully prepared.

Option 2: Ship the boat to Cape Town, do the repairs properly, proactively seek out and improve the structural integrity of the boat in areas that have not yet broken, sea trail the boat offshore for 3 days before leg 2, and enter the inport race and leg 2 properly prepared.

We are going for option 2.

As I said in my email of yesterday, I don’t think the breakdowns will be confined to Moviestar, Sunergy, and Pirates. I am not wishing any ill fate on anyone, it is just the nature of these beasts. In fact, I wrote a note today to all boats of the same design…Moviestar, Brasil and Ericsson, describing to them the damage we suffered and inviting them to call us or our designer for more information if they want. I got a couple of nice reply’s during the day from those teams also offering their assitance.

Now, when you have a challenge you find out what your team is made of. I like what I am seeing. First, our team has set up an operation here in Portugal is short order. Secondly, as tired as every one from the shore team is having given everything they had to get the boat ready for November 12th, they all changed their plans to go home and see their families for a week and rode a bus for 6 hours on Sunday night to arrive here at 0200 Mondfay morning. And finally Disney and Pescanova are coming through like champs. Our parnter, Pescanova, has offered to support the cost of the flying the boat to Cape Town, in fact it was CEO Manolo Fernandez’s suggestion. This will gain us 12 days over a shipping option which will be used to get more work done on our job list. Further we will attach other issue that are concerning us so that we can leave for the southern ocean with as much confidence as possible in the boat. For sure this is a luxury and we are greatful for Pescanovas help. I have been in touch with the Disney executives who sit on our board over the past 36 hours and they are 100% behind us, and more resolute than before. Here is an email from one of our Disney team:

Just want you to know the team here is following the events and supporting you from afar. Wish I could be there to lend a hand and help. If there is anything I can do from Ca. (doubtful I know) don’t hesitate to holler. Kimo I wanted to call you a bunch of times Day one, but felt best leave the phones open and let you guys get the job done. Seems all the boats are having their challenges, ours came early and thankfully close to land and the the shore team. You all know better than anyone it is a long journey to the end and this is nothing more than a minor set back. Remember coming from the rear is only going to make this better Pirate lore.


So this is all part of the story. No one tells you how the story is going to unfold when you start. You have to live it in all of its ups and downs….that is the beauty of it and you play your hand as it is delt to you.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Black Pearl has safely arrived to Cascais, and we are fully committed to returning to the Volvo Ocean Race as soon as possible.The shore team has arrived with our tools, clothes, containers and has set up an infrastructure so we are functional. Engineers from Farr International as well as boat builders from Green Marine are on the wayto our base. Later today or tomorrow morning we will conduct a full structural inspection. Following those results, we will make a decision on what needs to be done and then create a schedule for repairs in order to rejoin the race. Options are to return to Leg One should the repairs be quickly feasible, or ship the boat to Cape Town and then reincorporate in Leg Two.

Over the past five months, Pirates of the Caribbean has assembled a strong and capable team and we have achieved a lot. Despite the challenges we have just faced, I am confident we have the ideal sailing and shore team to get us back in competition as quickly as possible.

This is probably just the first of many setbacks the competitors in this race will face. How well each rebounds will most likely have a determinant impact on the results. To that end, the Pirates are still racing even here at the dock.

I know others have suffered damage at this stage and the Pirates wish them well.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Kimo Worthington, GM Pirates of the Caribbean.

The communication systems on board are not yet functioning, but I am in contact with Paul via satellite phone continually.

At 5am this morning, there was a strong vibration on the boat that lasted approximately 15 minutes. Erle Williams went off watch to do a boat check and saw lots of water around the keel structure. Upon closer examination he saw that the lid on the fish tank was being pushed up by the water pressure causing the water to come out. At the time, the wind was at 25 to 35 knots and the boat was traveling at 30 knots. Paul came to assess the situation and made the decision to slow the boat down, which took about an hour. After the boat slowed, the leak stopped. The boat is now headed to shore and currently about 106 miles from destination Cascais, Portugal. The storm jib and tri sail are up, wind at 40 to 50 knots. Shore team is on its way to meet the boat in Cascais. All is under control. We will contine to provide updates.

10 November 2005, Vigo, Spain: Pirate fever is spreading! Just in time for the start of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006, the Pirates of the Caribbean team has announced a new sponsor. Pescanova, one of Spain