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Amer Sports narrowly misses bergs

The fleet has been ploughing through high seas and dodging iceberg
The fleet has been ploughing through high seas and dodging iceberg  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- One boat in the Volvo Ocean Race has come close to disaster in the iceberg-strewn Southern Ocean.

The crew of Amer Sports One lost control of their overpowered yacht as they approached two icebergs. The yacht wiped out, but was righted and steered through the two bergs by navigator Roger Nilson.

The incident allowed Tyco to move into second place, the official race website said. The yachts are so far from land that they are beyond outside help. Cape Horn lies 1450 miles ahead.

The fourth leg of the race began in Auckland, New Zealand, on January 27 and the boats are due to arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by February 19.

Paul Cayard of Amer Sports One said the decision to carry on at speed in that weather was irresponsible.

"I managed to hang on to this beast which was hurtling through the pitch black of night, doing 30-plus knots at one moment, running into large objects at random (waves that I could not see)."

The waves would alter his course up to 15 degrees "in a situation where degrees of course change can throw the whole boat out of balance," Cayard said.

The three Amer Sports One drivers have strong cases of tendonitis in their hands.

"Three fingers of my left hand are tingling numb constantly. I have lost 50 percent of my grip strength in that hand."

Tyco's Steve Hayles said: "The brutal reality of the Southern Ocean keeps hitting home hard. This leg has not been an easy one to date and we are all looking forward to some less stressful sailing."

He said reaching Cape Horn would be a major turning point both metaphorically and literally, "so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Gunnar Krantz of SEB described the sailing as being more dangerous than Russian roulette.

"We had 21 large icebergs on radar one night. Four of them we had to alter course to avoid.

How many growlers we have passed I do not know. Water temp 1.4 degree C and snowing heavily at times," he wrote in an email.

Overnight the fleet gained some miles on leading yacht Illbruck. News Corp, which was slightly damaged when it hit an iceberg on Tuesday, achieved the highest average over the last six hours.


• News Corp hits ice
February 5, 2002
• Southern Ocean batters boats
February 5, 2002
• Icebergs add to southern danger
February 4, 2002

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