Vendee Globe-Point Nemo to Southern Atlantic

image of Cape horn Vendee Globe
Cape Horn photo credit Didac Costa/One Planet One Ocean

Vendee Globe-Point Nemo to Southern Atlantic

On 7th January Brit Pip Hare announced her port rudder had failed and she was easing off to try and fix it.


image of Pip Hare
Pip Hare in the Southern Ocean. photo credit Pip Hare Ocean Racing

It looked as if the race was becoming an all French affair with Yannick Bestaven‘s Maitre CoQ IV leading the fleet up the South Atlantic with little more than 5,000 nautical miles to go to the finish, and closely followed by Charlie Dalin on Apivia and 3rd, Thomas Ruyant‘s LinkedOut.

Point Nemo is the name given to the location furthest from land on the globe-somewhere between New Zealand and South America’s Cape Horn, and perhaps up a bit.

And then the marvellous happened. Accordingly to Pip Hare’s team;

Last night, a weather window appeared and Pip prepared to replace the damaged rudder with her spare. The procedure is difficult and dangerous – the boat is constantly moving, the rudder is heavy and unwieldly and the risk of causing further damage to the boat – or herself – is constant.

But Pip is nothing if not determined.

She says: ‘I think the whole procedure took about an hour and a half with many hours of preparation and packing up before and after.

‘My heart was in my mouth for the whole time. But once I was committed to doing it there was nothing that was going to get in my way.

‘There were some tough moments and I had to plead with my boat and the ocean a couple of times but when that new rudder stock finally came shooting up through the deck level bearing, the out-loud whooping that came from me could easily have been heard for miles around…if anyone had been there to hear it.’

Joff Brown, the team’s Technical Director, said: ‘This is one of the things we really didn’t want to do during the race – replacing a rudder is difficult enough in a marina, let alone in the Southern Ocean where waves are notoriously big and you’re miles from any help if things go wrong. But Pip is a meticulous planner and incredibly determined – if anyone could do it, I knew it was her. 

Pip Hare added;

‘I’m now back in the game, the breeze has filled in and Medallia is humming along at 15 knots and I can’t quite believe that I did that. Now can I please have a pass out of the Southern Ocean? I think I am done here now.’

Editor’s note;

Years ago we had to take the rudder out of our UFO 31 in Brighton Marina boatyard, one of the South Coast’s most experienced. They had to get a special machine in from Newhaven harbour and it took hours of banging to fix it. All on dry land.

Changing the rudder at sea is a tremendous achievement. In May 1941 the German battleship Bismarck was stuck on one of its rudders by a torpedo launched from a FAA plane. They steamed around in circles unable to free it until sunk by the Home Fleet.

Vendee Globe- Halfway Round Up

Vendee Globe-Point Nemo to Southern Atlantic




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