Rail Meat checks in with more of his world-best analysis of the remaining Route Du Rhum competitors, this time focusing his efforts on producing a slick damage report from the Class 40 fleet. Subscribe to the RdR thread for the latest.
The GRIBs for the area of the ocean the Class 40’s have been sailing in seem to have been spot on.
Those GRIBs show that Marco and Conrad are just getting crushed by the same High that we have been talking about for 3 days. Conrad is pulling the reverse Pac Man, slipping down the rankings as quickly as he had moved up them. The loss of his spinnaker has hurt him something fierce, and just shows how challenging it is to deal with the 8 sail limit the class imposes. He has it repaired and hopefully that will arrest his descent.
The next couple of days look uncertain. The tropical low in the Caribbean is throwing off energy, and there is a frontal system coming from the west out towards the fleet which will have an impact on the boats. It is hard for me to predict the impact.
In the meantime, this is some tough racing. The winds are quite variable, which means lots of sail changes. And the little rain squalls create situations where the skippers are dodging the black clouds all day long and then working like hell to get out from under them when they get caught. Very hard work, and it is starting to get very warm so it is hot, sweaty work.
To update my running list of damages, check out the new items in bold.
- Louis Burton (Bureau Valléee) – . His water ballast tanks are leaking. He also lost his anemometer which costs him his wind data and the ability to have the pilot steer by apparent or true wind. Then…he struck a trawler while asleep. The trawler had no one on deck and no watch standing. His spinnaker is destroyed, which is almost moot since his bow sprit is shattered into 3 pieces. That being said, he set his fractional kite, presumably tacked to the stem. He also has a breach in his hull up but forward of his water tight bulkhead. His pulpit, stanchions and lifelines are trashed. He mentions other deck and hull damage but it is not clear if there are any additional breaches. The boom was screwed up at the gooseneck, but he seems to have fixed that. He is continuing to race.
- Gilbert Chollet (Chimirec-EVTV) – Appears to have had a problem with his anemometer and has lost wind data as a result. No more ability to have the pilot use true wind and apparent wind modes.
- Damien Seguin (Des Pieds et Des Mains) – blew up his large running spinnaker beyond repair, and has damaged his fractional kite. Still racing, but that will hurt him in the last stage of this race.
- Conrad Colman (40 Degrees) – blew up his spinnaker. Finished repairs, still racing.
- Jouni Romppanen (Tieto Passion) – persistent electronics problems that don’t allow him to use the autopilot. Not clear what those problems are. Retired from race.
- Denis Van Weynbergh (Green Energie 4 Seasons- Diabetics Challenges) – pilot error costing the loss of wind speed and direction. Not clear if it is fixed. Also broke the starboard lazy jack which required him to go up the rig to retrieve the loose end.
- Arnaud Daval (Techneau) – Anemometer faulty, repaired. Still racing.
- Thierry Bouchard (COMIR-Pôle Elior Health) – Torn jib (aka solent), lost the Code 0 from the deck where it was washed away, torn / delaminating mainsail. Still racing.
- Eric Defert (Groupe Terrallia) – Pilot malfunction and NMEA feed from instruments failed. Seems to have made a repair underway, or is using back up system. Appears to have made a stop in Horta to fix his main sail halyard that apparently broke and left him with out his main. Back to racing.
- Marc Behaghel (Tekka) – furler damage, top swivel. Jury rigged a repair, continuing racing.
- Marco Nannini (UniCredit) – Pilot problems, where the master dropped out of the bus. Repaired by pulling each item off the bus and adding them back on one at a time. Seems his anemometer has not been working for much of the race which would eliminate his ability to get wind direction or speed and not allow him to use the apparent wind and true wind modes of the pilot. Continuing racing.
- Tanguy De Lamotte (Novedia/Initiatives) – tore a code sail from luff to leech. Torn the main badly. Continuing racing but acknowledged there is no way to recover.
- Fabrice Amedeo (Geodis) – referred to some damage but I can’t figure out what it might be. Continuing racing.
- Marc Lepesqueux (Marie Toit Caen la mer) – cracked bow sprit. Fabricated a split and stabilized it with some additional stays. Continuing racing.
- Pierre-Marie Bazin (Les 3Caps-Respectons la Terre) – broken solent halyard and a damaged / non-functioning anemometer which no longer allows him to have wind data or use the true and apparent wind modes on the auto-pilot. Also is having problems with the diesel and the solar panels when using them for power charging. He has broken his Spinnaker halyard in addition to his solent halyard and broke something else he referred to as a "lazzy" which I have no idea how to translate. Continuing racing.
- Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) – steering damage. After checking out the video, it was definitely with the tiller arm that the pilot is connected to, and where that tiller arm was connected to the rudder stock. Attempted a repair underway that did not work. Stopping in the Azores for a repair.
- David Consorte (Adriatech) – broken solent halyard, GPS failure and leaking water ballast. Retired from the race.
- Rune Aasberg (Solo) – Pilot failure. Retired from the race.
So far, this list reinforces some of the lessons I picked up from last year’s Solidaire du Chocolat.
- Make absolutely certain you have your pilots working 100% when you leave, and make sure you have two completely redundant pilots
- Install two anemometers, and make sure their mount points are as secure as you can make them. Loss of wind data seems to be a very common problem.
- Have a comprehensive and substantial repair pack on board for sail repairs. Both Spinnaker and laminate sail material, plus adhesive and something to clean and dry the sail.
- Have new halyards when you start the race, although actually make them halyards that you have at least a few hundred miles of sailing on so you know the splices are good. And for a race like this, run back-up mouse lines for the key halyards so you don’t have to go up the mast to replace a halyard. And carry back up halyards.
- Have a back up GPS antenna. And back up components to your primary navigational system (e.g. CPU, keyboard, ethernet hub)
- Have plenty of dynema on board in a couple of different diameters to use as lashing.
- Have replacement batten pockets on board. It has not apparently been an issue in this race, but in the Solidaire du Chocolat it was one of the most common problems.
By the way – Marco Nannini has some of the best posts out of the entire fleet. Great sense of humour. And he is one of the few guys to make the effort to post both in English and in French. Check it out here.