Only two days after the failure of two boats (Hervé Laurent on "UUDS" and Alex Thompson on "Hugo Boss") and the bad news and the related task of Norbert Sedlacek (he is expected in Cape Town on Sunday), who threatens to lose his keel, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In a technical feat, the Briton Conrad Humphreys actually succeeded in exchanging his broken rudder for the replacement rudder. With the help of a pulley system over the boom and a rope, he brought the 3-meter-long and 80-kilogram carbon profile into position. Then he weighed it down in the water with his anchor gear and threaded the rudder stock into the bearings in various dives. Precision work, considering that even the slightest angle of the long shaft carries the risk of damaging the rudder bearings.
The repair is a barely comprehensible show of strength and should bring Humphreys a place of honor in the long list of spectacular repairs at the regatta. Correspondingly euphoric, but also exhausted, he reported to the regatta management: "I feel like a bag of bones. Every part of my body hurts. Since yesterday I have hardly slept and am full of adrenaline. I'm so exhausted that I probably won't I'll manage to do the small repairs that are still necessary in the mast this morning. Nevertheless, the Briton is confident that he will be able to start the race again tomorrow with his "Hellomoto".
Norbert Sedlacek can only dream of that. The Austrian is currently sneaking as carefully as possible to Cape Town so as not to overtax the broken keel bolt of his "brother". A break would result in an immediate overturning in seconds, which could seriously injure the skipper. According to the race management, Sedlacek has prepared as best he can for the event, a survival suit, life raft and supplies are ready.
The Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dick still has hope of continuing the race with "Virbac", who, due to the failure of the main engine and now the generator, has too little power on board to use navigation instruments, computers, lights and the autopilot all the time. "I'm not a sailor at the moment, I'm Mr. Fixit!" He reported from the ship. He constantly tries to get more electricity through repairs, but the machine cannot be saved because the crankshaft seems to be damaged. Dick is now building on his solar cells, which provide electricity for about 10 to 12 hours for the autopilot and 15 minutes of computer use. But it is still unclear whether he will have to break off or whether he will venture into the Southern Ocean without fully deployable electronics.
At the head of the race, Vincent Rious ("PRB") now pays off defensive weather tactics: sailing further north, he could now choose the direct route, while runner-up Jean Le Cam ("Bonduelle") made a detour north around the Kerguelen have to sail around. The result: Riou is now leading by around 60 miles.
The pursuers are also making good progress in strong westerly winds and have caught up to 50 to 70 miles again in the last 24 hours. Roland Jourdain ("Sill et Véolia") is now only 450 miles behind, Sebastien Josse ("VMI) is still 600 miles behind.
By now he should feel the breath of Mike Golding ("Ecover") on his neck, because the Briton has come within 40 miles. He decided on a risky swing south and has been sailing the Roaring Fifties since yesterday to save valuable miles. The iceberg risk is much higher here, but Golding apparently sees this route as the only chance to get closer to the far-advanced top duo again. In the main field, the Swiss Dominique Wavre has now pushed past "Virbac", whose skipper is currently concentrating more on electronic problems than his direct opponents
1 PRB 14948.6 2 BONDUELLE 15009.43 SILL ET VEOLI15400.54 VMI 15548.75 ECOVER 15590.16 TEMENOS 16249.67 VIRBAC-PAPREC 16268.08 SKANDI16466.29 PRO-FORM 16564.110 ARCELOR DUNKERQUE 16640.811 OCEAN PLANET 16886.412 VM MATERIAUX 16944.513 ROXY 17237.914 MAX HAVELAAR BEST WESTERN 17353.515 HELLOMOTO 17409.316 HUGO BOSS 17 523.717 BENEFIC 17547.518 AKENVERANDAS 17592.719 BROTHER 17861.9ABD UUDS