Fedor reports serious rudder problem.

18 March 2008

Fedor reports that a bolt connecting the starboard rudder to an above deck tiller system, new when he left Albany, failed off Cape Horn which he replaced with a new spare bolt which has in turn failed after only a few days in service. Fedor is improvising a repair but how effective the repair will be remains to be seen. Race control and Fedor@@apos@@s shore team are monitoring the situation closely.

Oscar Konyukhov reports on his conversation with Fedor:

“I spoke to Fedor 12:00 UTC. He said that headwinds are gusty and powerful 30-35 knots. Fedor is sailing close-hauled (030) under main sail only to reduce drift to the west. The forecast suggested a shift at 0900 UTC, but at 1200 UTC the wind is still from the NE..
Fedor thinks that is because he is moving NW with the front but not through it.
The problem we have now is that the starboard side rudder tiller fixing is damaged. The bolt that fixes the tiller to the carbon pole from the rudder is shredded. Fedor needs a period of light winds, flat sea, some sunshine to conduct repairs. He needs a dry day to work with composite material and flat sea to disconnect the rudder from the tiller. Not something you would want to do at 50 South. We are threatened with a stopover in Cape Town which is a very bad scenario for everybody if it comes to that. Fedor will do his best to conduct repairs in the Ocean. He is confident that he can repair the problem subject to the weather and ocean status. He said that right now it is heavy rain, fog, squalls, waves crashing on deck and God knows what – anything but the break of sunshine we hoped for.

Later during the night we received Sat-C message from Fedor that wind shifted to N-W allowing him an N-E heading although boat is crushing into N-E winds waves. During prolonged period of headwinds sometime gale force Fedor lost 60 miles in his East progress and now will catch up the pace. In the morning he will try to conduct repairs on the damaged stbd rudder fixation. He needs to fix it soon before the last bolt on board of this size is not badly damaged and before heavy weather arrives as he is still sailing on 50 South and weather can worsen rapidly.

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