Alex Thomson involved in collision during Vendée Globe round the world race

 

A collision which could have knocked Britain’s Alex Thomson out of the Vendée Globe
round the world race has also affected his ability to communicate with his team
base as he continues to make fast progress deep south in the Indian
Ocean.

Thomson has reported that his 60-foot Hugo Boss was making 20 knots when he heard the sound of a collision in the bow of the boat, two more bumps and then a big bang as the floating object then hit one of his two rudders and ripped away part of his electricity generating equipment.

In a report, he said: “By the time I got to the companionway hatch the rudder was in the air and the hydro generator was dragging in the water. The boat broached and went head to wind. I immediately rolled the J2 away and stopped the boat in a big sea.

“On inspection the starboard rudder fuse (which releases the rudder) had broken and the rudder had lifted with minor damage.  The hydro generator blade was damaged and one of brackets was in pieces and eventually lost overboard. The rudder tie bar (the previously unbroken one) was also smashed in 3 pieces.

“I set to work swapping tie bars to get the leeward rudder operational so I could steer safely in the right direction.  The waves were very big and were coming up and over the transom and mainsheet traveller and were hitting the rudder blade while lifted.  Both rudder cassettes sustained some damage while doing this and it was pretty dangerous hanging off the transom while being completely submerged by the waves.

“Eventually I got the working rudder connected and started sailing again with the port rudder in the air.  I contacted the team and started affecting a repair to the tie bar.  I have been unable to sail at 100% while managing this repair. I will not be able to repair the cassette damage until it is dry on deck but the team feel that these repairs are not critical right now.

“I expect to have both rudders working by this morning.

“Longer term I am now down to only one hydro generator which means in the current conditions I will have to shut everything down into power saving mode and work hard to save power to be able to make the finish over 15,000 miles away.This literally means everything off, computer, phone, GPS, etc otherwise I have no chance of making the finish.”

But Thomson has not only held on to fifth place but early Tuesday morning was still 135 miles behind the leader, François Gabard who, over the weekend set a new world record of 545 miles in 24 hours.

But such has been the speed of the leading group that he has a slender lead of less than three miles over second-placed Armel le Cléac’h with Jean-Pierre Dick showing a 50-mile deficit and Bernard Stamm just 35 miles ahead of Thomson.

And Thomson has a cushion of nearly 500 miles over sixth-placed British rival Mike Golding.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue