Vendee Update: Emergency Rudder Replacement

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A devastated Hare talks about the breakage

Pip Hare (Medallia) is back in the game after an emergency rudder repair deep in the Southern Ocean. “Every part of my body aches. I have bloody knuckles on every finger, bruises all down my legs and muscles I didn't know I had that hurt but YES!!!!! The new rudder is in and Medallia is back in the game,” said Hare in a blog post yesterday.

During a routine maintenance check, she noticed a crack in the port rudder stock. Every time the pilot was going to move the rudder, the crack was getting a little bit worse,” she reported. “I have no choice but to change the port rudder. If I continue sailing hard the stock will fail under load in a matter of hours.

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Joff Brown, the boat’s captain, said that while she had practiced the maneuver at the dock before leaving, it would be a different matter entirely at sea because the pitching puts more strain on the bearings holding the broken rudder in place. She would have to make quick use of a brief weather window or be forced to wait days for another.

“Yesterday I was scared and apprehensive. The conditions were far from ideal, a big swell and a forecast for a light patch between gales. I talked through the procedure with Joff and with Paul, the main concern was slowing the boat down enough to get the rudder in and then the boat landing on the rudder stock and doing damage to either. Eventually, with a drogue out of the back and under bare poles in 16-18 knots of breeze I went for it.”’

Hare is currently in 15th place in the Vendee Globe and despite her fears, has lost ground but not position on this repair.

To follow race’s tracker, visit vendeeglobe.org/en/tracking-map

January 2021

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