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banner Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 18:34 GMT
Fanstone prepares for heat
Team News Corp on leg four (photo: Team News Corp)
News Corp survived a brush with ice and rudder loss
By BBC Sport Online's Rob Hodgetts

Team News Corp skipper Jez Fanstone is ready to swap his survival suit for Speedos when leg five of the Volvo Ocean Race sets sail from Rio to Miami.

Fanstone's crew limped home in sixth place in the race from Auckland to Rio after colliding with ice in the Southern Ocean and then sailing the last 1,250 miles with a jury rudder.

His team are in fourth place overall, 10 points adrift of leaders illbruck.

But he knows the next stage of the round-the-world race will require crews to adapt to very different conditions.

Team News Corp built a jury rudder (photo: Richard Langdon/Ocean Images)
Ingenious repairs kept Team News Corp racing

"It will be hot and humid - very sticky," Britain's Fanstone told BBC Sport Online.

"And totally opposite to the Southern Ocean where we froze our balls off. This time they'll get very sweaty.

"The winds are not as intense as down south. We'll take different sails, different clothing, different food.

Fanstone added: "It will be characterised by clouds and the gusts they produce.

"We'll have to make sure we get the right side of the clouds and don't get stuck in a no-wind zone.

"It will be quite tight up through the Doldrums area and then after that we're expecting some good reaching conditions up to the Bahamas."

John Kostecki's illbruck was first into Rio for their third leg win out of four after a Southern Ocean stage which stretched ability, endurance and courage to the limit.

"It was very full on, very intense sailing for 10 days," said Fanstone.

"I'd have to rate it up there as some of the most dangerous sailing I've done.

"When you are sailing a 60-ft yacht at 22 knots in the dark surrounded by freezing water in full survival suits, gloves, hat and your only eyes are a radar, your imagination does run wild."

There are plenty of dramas in this race and plenty more to come so watch this space
Jez Fanstone

But Team News Corp survived the ordeal and were rewarded with perfect conditions to round the infamous Cape Horn.

"We were only a couple of miles away in sunshine and a lovely sailing breeze - just a perfect way to go round the Horn," said Fanstone. "It will probably never be like that again."

But while gaining on the leaders on the approach to Rio, Team News Corp suffered another mishap when the rudder fell off.

"It was hugely disappointing," said Fanstone.

"We had made 30-mile gains in the previous six hours and were looking to make the same sort of gains in the next sched. That would have put us second and in the battle for the finish.

"But in an instant that all changed. Everyone did a fantastic job.

"We got ourselves up and running and saved sixth place."

  Overall standings after leg four:
1. Illbruck 29 points
2. Amer Sports One 22 pts
3. Assa Abloy 20 pts
4. Team News Corp 19 pts
5. Team Tyco 18 pts
6. Djuice 17 pts
7. Team SEB 12 pts
8. Amer Sports Too 7 pts

Team News Corp trailed home behind illbruck, djuice, Team Tyco, Assa Abloy and Amer Sports One.

And after interviews, fresh food, a cold beer and sleep, they slipped into the day-to-day routine of a stop-over.

"It's just general maintenance on the boat and on the body, trying to thaw out feet so we can walk properly," said Fanstone.

"And it's about making sure the boys are fit and well, happy and motivated."

But Fanstone is now chomping at the bit for the next chance to reel in the leading boats.

"We look to win every leg and put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform," he said.

"But it doesn't always work out that way. But when we win one, it will be a reward for all the hard work that everyone's put in.

"As we have seen, there are plenty of dramas in this race and plenty more to come so watch this space."

Leg five of nine leaves Rio on 9 March. The race, which began in Southampton in September, is expected to finish in Kiel, Germany in June.

Skipper Jez Fanstone
on Team News Corp's brush with ice
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