Russia's Igor Zaretsky has been in last (now eighth) place in the Golden Globe Race for quite a long time. He is almost 900 nautical miles behind his nearest rival, Mark Sinclair of Australia, and there is no way to improve the situation. A dreadful thicket of sea ducks is taking hold of Zaretsky's Esmeralda.
After prolonged deliberation and during the traditional radio session on November 21, Zaretsky informed the race organizers that he would be forced to make a difficult decision and go to the Australian port of Perth to lift the boat from the water, clean it and, at the same time, perform the necessary repairs. This means a speedy transition for the Russian to the Chichester class.
«I've never seen such thickets. It's not grass, it's not barnacles. It's a solid array of worms as thick as a finger and about ten centimeters long, and they're on the hull like a glade. Their heads are as big as a plum. Earlier the boat was going 5-6 knots, now in the same conditions it was 3-4 knots. And in a low wind - well worth», - said the yachtsman.
According to him Esmeralda's hydro-generator doesn't work well because of the living carpet, the auto-rudder doesn't cope with low speed. Besides the boat's rigging is to be renewed.
«It's all falling apart at an amazing rate. Everything needs to be taken in triplicate. Stock of ropes is the same: they fray in a moment», explained Zaretsky.
Now the Russian has less than 1,000 nautical miles to Perth, Zaretsky hopes to reach the port within two weeks. According to tracker data, at the time of writing he was running at 2.8 knots. By comparison, the race leader, Frenchman Jean Luc van den Heede, who broke his batten down during the storm, is now sailing very gingerly at 5.2knots. He is still the fastest in the racing fleet.
«According to GGR, this massive problem» on Esmeralda's bottom occurred because shortly before the start, when the boat had already arrived in Les Sables d'Olonne(France),the crew lifted her out of the water and carefully cleaned her.
During the cleaning, the good paint was partly removed from the hull and with it the anti-foul coating that had been applied before the boat's last departure from Spain to France. The cleaned surface was coated with varnish, forgetting to restore the coat «neobrainer».
Van den Heede, which seems to be the only one in the fleet that had almost no complaints about uninvited guests, had not only three coats of regular antifoulant on the hull before the start, but also one more - washable. Probably to prevent the coating from dissolving early due to strong tidal currents, his boat was even «wrapped» in blue reinforced film. Here's such a «girl in a beauty salon». As a result, a small number of clams settled only above the level to which the boat was covered «with unbrushed».
Estonian Uku Randmaa (3rd place), who was actively engaged in cleaning the boat from overgrown seafood last week, was prevented from completing what he had started, first by waves and then by sharks. Faced with predators, the Estonian decided that to cope with the task at about 80% is also an excellent result, which is quite enough.
The Finnish competitor Tapio Lehtinen ( Tapio Lehtinen, 6th place in the race) was in a slightly similar position to that of Zaretsky. «Although his boat» was not washed clean, it was simply coated with a compound designed for the BalticSea. It turned out to be not poisonous enough for the Southern Ocean.
But, apparently, even this coat is much better than no coat at all. Some time ago Finn coped with an invasion of stowaways with his own forces, and in his case we are not talking about a biological disaster similar to the one that happened to the Russian citizen.