Unpoliticized races

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The ongoing Volvo Race regatta was marked today by a small scandal. In Abu Dhabi, the regatta organizers gave Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson a special prize, awarded to two sailors of his crew for saving the mast in an extreme situation.

However, the ceremony was almost disrupted - a group of sailors from rival boats gave Sanderson a very real obstruction, believing that it is impossible to give a prize for brave overcoming of those difficulties, which he himself created. What are we talking about?

Team Sanya skipper Axel Magdal is known for his penchant for unconventional tactical solutions.

During the fifth (Pacific) leg of the last race of the series he changed the course of Ericsson 3 almost at right angles to the CG and sent the yacht into the crosswinds. «No sooner had the fans discussed what exactly was smoking on board the Ericsson than everything changed in an instant: the boat was caught in a powerful crosswind, passed the entire fleet to windward, was the first to pass» and entered Cape Horn with no hope of victory for his rivals. He did roughly the same thing this time in the second leg of the current Cape Town-Abu Dhabi race. As their old boat was noticeably lagging behind the rest of the fleet, it was decided that there was nothing to lose and they had to go all-in. «The boat was then directed almost into the very eye of» a tropical cyclone.

«The duelling proved successful again: within 24 hours Team Sanya moved from outsider to leader» bringing the second Puma for almost 1500 miles. But that's where... That' s where the problem arose. While changing sails before the turn, one of the crew members happened to look up and saw that the lower (main) batten was loose. Of course, the turn was postponed, a man was brought up to fix the emergency rigging, but everything was hanging on by a thread.

Had the yacht manoeuvred at night instead of during the day, the accident would have been inevitable.

However, the damage to the mast was serious and Team Sanya was once again (for the second time in the race) forced to withdraw from the race. The dash through the storm failed. It was, however, one that led to the disapproval (and a defiant exit from the ceremony) of a number of well known sailors. They felt the risk taken by Mike Sanderson's team was not justified and the ensuing crash was well deserved. The public's opinion on the matter was expressed by Chris Nicolson, Camper'sskipper: «The captain's job is to minimize the risk to our guys. There is enough of him as it is». In no way diminishing the merits and dignity of Captain Nicholson, I dread to think of a time when boaters will be racing «politically correct» for fear of getting an extra scratch or offending an opponent with a rude shout.

However, of course, the approach: «Women will give birth to new ones! » can by no means be justified either.

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