VOLVO OCEAN RACE / Leg 5
Green: Unlucky for some?
Thursday 14 March 2002 –
Illbruck’s misfortune extends back to leg 2 when just out of Cape Town the crew ended up bailing out the forward compartment and losing valuable time. On leg 3 they encountered the tornado just out of Sydney. More recently, their collision with Team SEB just after leaving Rio resulted in some urgent repair work followed by dropping their Code Zero in the water, and a combination of both incidents drove them firmly into last position for a while. Two green boats colliding might be statistically almost impossible, so was there too much green involved?
For SEB, a more disastrous series of events has hit them. On leg 3, while approaching Tasmania during the Sydney to Hobart race, they lost their rudder and had to return to Australia to carry out repairs before delivering the yacht onto Auckland. On leg 4, they dramatically lost their carbon rig in the legendary Southern Ocean and had to limp to Punta Arenas under jury rig, before being carried onto Rio as deck cargo aboard a ship.
So what are the origins of the superstition that Green is unlucky? Many successful racing yachts have been painted British Racing Green around the world, but many fishermen would not even entertain the idea of using green. As a colour it is alleged to represent hope and immortality, but fairies and notorious wood spirits are said to wear green and as the sayings go, it is believed that anyone who wears green could fall under their evil influence.
And what of the other superstitions for sailors, dating back to the age of sail? To keep seafarers safe they wore gold earrings to prevent drowning and tattoos were believed to ward off evil sprits and some diseases. Some animals, such as dogs, rabbits and pigs or even traces of them are said to be unlucky near a ship and their names unlikely ever even to be mentioned on board. Ships’ cats however are said to be lucky!
So perhaps for SEB it was one of the departure superstitions that went wrong for them. It’s said to be unlucky if friends and family watch the ship sail out of sight and point to it, as it might encourage the evil eye. Perhaps they should have thrown their old shoes in the water as the boat left the dock instead?
Volvo Ocean Race Position Report, Day 6, 0958 GMT
PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF CMG SMG TFHR DTL DTL-C ETA
1 AART 08 54.44S 034 41.44W 03470 012 07.0 228 0 +0 27 MAR 02 28
2 TYCO 08 56.88S 034 41.48W 03473 012 06.9 225 3 +1 27 MAR 02 25
3 ILBK 08 57.44S 034 41.16W 03473 012 06.8 226 3 +1 27 MAR 02 35
4 NEWS 09 22.48S 035 01.16W 03501 020 04.4 222 31 +15 27 MAR 02 24
5 AONE 09 40.76S 034 49.40W 03517 013 08.8 198 47 -12 27 MAR 02 26
6 DJCE 09 44.12S 034 46.80W 03520 019 09.3 201 50 -13 27 MAR 02 20
7 ATOO 09 48.24S 034 49.00W 03525 012 10.0 191 55 -17 28 MAR 02 9
8 TSEB 09 49.80S 034 43.40W 03526 013 10.2 207 56 -18 28 MAR 02 13