• 18-OCT-2014

  • SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng Race Team broke their rudder, Team Brunel sent a diver to check their keel

Breaking News: Dongfeng Race Team have hit a unidentified object, have broken their rudder and swapped it out. They lost the lead, but soon after they were back in the game. The Chinese boat is already sailing at 20 knots again.

Yann Riou's blog - Dongfeng Race Team Onboard Reporter:
At 0210 UTC, Thomas was driving when we hit something. The impact was violent. We did not know what we hit. We checked the windward runner, we started to check the keel, and we wiped out. Then we realised the leeward rudder was gone.

Thomas: "I flew from the steering wheel!"

We checked if there was any water ingress in the boat.

At 0220 UTC, we jibed. We had two options: installing the emergency rudder, as an emergency rudder, or removing what was left of the old rudder, and putting the new one in place. We decided to go for the second option.

We prepared the rudder, we furled the A3, with dropped the A3 down, we dropped the mainsail down.

At this moment, we saw Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing passing next to us (…).

Thomas put the diving suit on. He jumped into the water. Kevin was in the aft compartment, and the rest of the crew on deck.

We removed what was left from the old rudder (not much), and we put the new one in place. We hoisted the main, we hoisted the A3, we jibed, and we unfurled the A3.

We are now sailing 20 knots.

Charles: "It is not easy to accept this kind of things, when they happen." We are all disappointed. We haven't got any position report yet, but we obviously know that Abu Dhabi is now in front of us. We believe that the Spanish boat is ahead of us too. We don't really know about the other boats. It does not look very fair, but there is nothing to do about this…

Other boats to report catching something on their keel are Brunel and Team SCA.

The Dutch boat even had to send a swimmer into the water and dive down to get a strip of rubber from their keel.

Team SCA also showed an irregular track and reported running into a fishing net. This did not help their course and lost more ground to the fleet.