Sunday, December 09, 2007

Estrella Damm heading to Cape Town after severe damage to port rudder

[Source: Estrella Damm Sailing Team] At 1800 GMT co-skipper Jonathan McKee on board Estrella Damm, skippered by Guillermo Altadill, contacted the shore team to report serious damage to their port rudder. The duo had experienced damage to their starboard rudder only the day before, after colliding with an object in the water, which they had managed to fix; however, in this separate incident, the damage to the port rudder can not be fixed on board the boat and Altadill and McKee have made the decision to divert to Cape Town to effect repairs with the assistance of their shore team. Estrella Damm is approximately 620 miles south-west of Cape Town.

Jonathan reported to his shore team: “We were sailing along in 30 knots of breeze in big seas, the same thing happened as with the other one but unlike the starboard rudder [damaged the previous day] this time it didn’t swing up in the same way so I guess it spent a longer time in the water. The damage is a lot more severe, the shaft around the rudder stock is completely broken (this is the tube that surrounds the stock and holds the two bearings at the top and bottom of the stock together) and appears split horizontally. Is it fixable? We’re not sure. It would require a lot of carbon work, more than we could achieve on board. We’ve made the decision to head to Cape Town and have informed Race Direction team of the Barcelona World Race. We’re 620 miles from Cape Town and we would estimate getting there in around 2.5 days. I think we will get by on one rudder to Cape Town as its predominantly port tack which is good. For me and Guillermo, I think we’re still a bit in shock and we need to think more about it and how we fix things.”

The shore team are now working on the action plan to effect the necessary repairs to the rudder system on board Estrella Damm and the timeline involved. More information on their passage to Cape Town and the plan to effect repairs will be made tomorrow (Monday, 10th December).

Estrella Damm's port rudder. Barcelona, 27 September 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Estrella Damm's stern. Barcelona, 27 September 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Close up of Estrella Damm's rudder mechanism. Barcelona, 10 November 2007. Photo copyright Alfred Farré



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