Race: January 5th to 22nd Days 17
3595 Nautical Miles
The leg 6 is 3595 miles from Ushuaia to Recife, Brazil. It is a very difficult leg, as the weather changes so much.
The leg 6 began on a calm day
After getting out of the Beagle Channel, it might be hard to see Albatross again.
The boat hit something and got seriously damaged.
Fortunately, Suzuki and Estelle (right) were able to return to land safely
I(Suzuki) welcomed the new year in Ushuaia (Argentina) and started a new journey on January 8. The leg 6 is about 3,500 miles and we would arrive in Recife, Brazil in 17 days.
Ushuaia is in the middle of the Beagle Channel. After sailing through the channel for about 70 miles, we entered the open sea and started to head north.
There were many fishing vessels around the Falkland Islands, where squid fishing is especially popular. The lights of fishing vessels could be seen from 20 miles away.
The open ocean was cold, but not as stinging as it was around Cape Horn. We were able to sail fast at the top thanks to stable wind speed.
However, the situation changed dramatically on January 12. At 9:00 AM, our boat hit something. Estelle was working on navigation, and I woke up to the impact. Whereafter, there was a strange smell floating in the boat. I had an unshakable premonition that our boat got seriously damaged.
We slowed down the boat to ensure the safety, and then checked the damaged areas. The damage was very serious which made it impossible to continue the leg 6. We had to stop the race temporarily to have our boat repaired. Fortunately for some though, we could sail before the wind to Mar del Plata, the nearest port.
Early in the morning of January 16, four days after the accident, we arrived in Mar del Plata. During these four days, we made every effort to keep the boat running smoothly. It was exhausting but luckily, we are OK. Although it was difficult for us to stop the race temporarily, the safety is all that matters.
Mar del Plata is Argentina's second largest port city, which has a thriving community and facilities for sailing. However, there are very few facilities which can lift large racing yachts like our boat. I(Suzuki) must make a detailed repair plan.
First, we used a crane to hoist the boat on the water and carefully checked the damage to the bottom and keel. The keel was greatly deformed. We need at least a week for preparation and three weeks for repair.
Moreover, we need to look for reliable technicians in an unfamiliar land. Despite the difficulties, we want to complete the race and achieve our dream of sailing around the world. The priority was to get the boat right. My teammate Andrea came here from Italy to help us. He can speak French and Spanish. Smooth communication played a big part in the whole process of repair. I am so grateful to have such a trustworthy and capable teammate.
All the preparations were completed. We started the repair work, lowering the mast, removing the keel and the engine. Technicians came here from the capital city of Buenos Aires to help us. When I saw them working methodically, I knew I had someone I could trust.
We have had a very difficult week because we found more damage than we thought. However, there has been a lot of progress. Now, the badly deformed keel is almost repaired. All that is left is painting.
We can rejoin the race and leave the port on February 18.
Other teams participating in Globe40 are already heading from Brazil to the next destination, Grenada (Caribbean). MILAI will not be able to keep up with their schedule. However, according to the rules of Globe40, if we successfully cross the three major capes (Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn) and return to Lorient, we will be recognized as having completed the whole race. So, we will head directly from Argentina to France and make every effort to finish the last leg.
We have been through all kinds of difficulties. Even so, our dream has never changed. Team MILAI will spare no effort to complete the race. Please continue to cheer for us.