Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Vendée Globe: Paprec-Virbac 2 loses port rudder

[Source: Vendée Globe] At around 1300hrs GMT, Vendee Globe skipper Jean-Pierre Dick suffered a collision with a solid object which is reported to have removed the port rudder and most of its assembly from the stern of Paprec-Virbac 2.

Dick has explained how he was alseep when he was awoken by a loud bang and the brutal crunch of breaking carbon. He was pulling on his foul weather trousers quickly and got into cockpit just in time to see the damaged, twisted assembly fall into the water off the transom.

"I was sleeping and heard a big bang, a loud noise. I rushed outside and saw the port rudder was out of the water and was wobbling around. The whole structure has been damaged. I was just about to put on my foulies, when the whole thing broke off and fell in the water. It all happened in less than a minute. It had to be the port rudder when the starboard one was already damaged. I hit a UFO, probably a growler.

" It is extremely depresssing to see that. Sailing with one rudder would be dangerous. The Vendée Globe is over for me."

He was sailing at around 15 knots of boat speed, under mainsail and gennaker when incident happened during the hours of darkness.

The skipper reported to his shore team that he has no idea what the object was. He immediately slowed the boat, reduced sail to two reefs and a staysail and turned on to the opposite gybe so that he could steer with his starboard rudder.

His position was approximately 47 deg 49.53 S, 143 deg 08.10 W. That places him about 1700 miles south of the French Polynesian Islands, 2700 miles WNW of Cape Horn, and about 1800 miles from New Zealand.

The Nicois skipper is unharmed, there is no other damage reported to the boat and he is making a compass course of about 350 degrees towards the South Pacific high pressure system which will initially provide calmer winds and seas while he and his team assess the options.



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