GUYOT environnement finally returned to Aarhus alongside the rest of the Ocean Race teams on Wednesday.
The team were well received by a cheering crowd, with their song playing at the race village.
There was little over a day to go before Leg 6 kicked off, and Benjamin Detreux’s team had managed to get back in time for the race. While overall victory may be beyond them, they have the chance to take part in the final leg.
After losing their mast, they reflected on all the work that had been done.
“It’s been a long journey and a very emotional one arriving here today for our team,” said crew member Annie Lush.
“We’ve had so much support from all the other teams, the race organisers and all the stakeholders and not just words, we just couldn’t have got here without their support. So, it’s amazing to see their excitement that we’re back. It’s a stark contrast to that moment floating in the Atlantic without a mast, we felt pretty alone.
“Until Friday lunchtime five days ago, having to retire from the race was still a real possibility. It has been very tough to get here. It’s been a hard few weeks in terms of the amount of work that’s been required, but also mentally. Every day we seem to have been dancing between we’re on, we’re off, there are so many factors involved in this, from logistics to boat building, financial issues to insurance, there are many factors and any one of them could have stopped us.”
Robert Stanjek explained some off the difficulties along the way.
“The coordinates where we lost the mast is right over the Titanic. I think the next footage from the wreck will deliver a few surprises,” he joked.
“The Gulf Stream current was still running at quite a speed when we dis-masted which meant it wasn’t easy getting out of it. We also had a big storm overnight. We didn’t have that much diesel but we had to invest a lot of it to get out of the Gulf Stream because we were being pulled towards Europe. And we also had a huge sea state to deal with.
“So, finally when we got out of the main current, we were down to just 20 litres of diesel and we had to keep some back to keep the boat running, charging batteries for communications, the watermaker and so on. We considered other options like towing to Newport but that was so expensive. Then we asked for 200 litres diesel from cargo ships and we received a quote for $68,000.
“But in the end we met Ibrahim, he was just a fantastic captain. He stopped his boat and transferred the fuel in a 50 ltr canister, can by can. They were a fantastic crew. The next day when the sea state became a little less difficult we built a jury rig and with a combination of engine and a little bit of sailing we got to Halifax.
“After that GAC Pindar managed to find a cargo line going directly from Halifax to Hamburg which is an hour by truck to Kiel.
“We have a few more cities on our stopover list now than the other teams. This is the city number ten, since we started the project. The boat has been out of the water more than expected and it’s been a big operation in the last days, but it has also been an amazing team.
“When we dismasted the race seemed over to me because I simply couldn’t see a logistical and financially viable solution. Plus, the damage to the boat was big. Then I received a call from a good friend of mine Marc Pickel who said this can’t be over, what about if we repair the boat in Kiel? And so we started to work on this option.
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“It’s been an amazing spirit in the boatyard where we worked through the nights to get the big repairs under control. We had great facilities in Kiel, a great network and the city of Kiel supported us a lot at the boatyard especially. A lot of people were involved.
“Then 11th Hour Racing team offered their spare mast so the big pieces of the puzzle started coming together.
“This race is not only about results, it’s also about falling, getting up again, making the impossible possible and the solidarity from the other teams and the race of leaving no one behind is such a good message to send out there. And I’m so thankful for the push everyone gave, it wouldn’t have been possible to do it alone – incredible.
“Emotionally I’m very exhausted, but I’m also very happy to be here. We’re going to fight and we’re going to do everything to get a solid result for the next two legs and then we will see where that leads.”
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