Succcess! Pip Hare has replaced her port rudder in the depths of the South Pacific. She reports this morning: „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 hurts. But Yes! The new rudder is in and Medallia is back in the game.“
The realization of the broken rudder stock hit the feisty Brit hard. During a routine check she noticed that the rudder stock between deck and hull was cracked. She had no choice but to change the port rudder. Otherwise, the shaft would failed under the load in a few hours.
She had been lucky in that she noticed the error in time. She disconnected the entire steering linkage, prevented further damage to both the shaft and the steering gear, and maintained control of the boat with the rudder on the starboard side. If the damage had gone unnoticed and she had been cruising to starboard in 30 knots of wind over the next few hours, the rudder stock would likely have broken. She fixed the problem with a spare rudder on board and is now back to the race and lost only one position.
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The rudder mishap is only the most recent example that shows the great challenges the sailors are also facing in this Vendée Globe. Pip Hare faces a fundamental disadvantage on top of that: Her boat „Medallia“ is a whopping 20 years old. Designed by Pierre Roland and built by Bernard Stamm, Imoca already has five circumnavigation regattas under her belt.
It saw victory in the Around Alone Race in 2002 and 2006. The boat has sailed a Barcelona World Race for a Spanish team, and has two experiences on the Vendee Globe, her first in 2000 when Bernard Stamm retired with steering and autopilot issues and then in the last edition of the race where she was sailed again by a Swiss sailor, Alan Roura, the youngest skipper ever to finish the race, in the colours of La Fabrique, finishing in 12th place. So, the boat is tried and tested and knows her way round the world. At her helm this time, is Pip Hare, taking part in her first Vendee Globe.