In the latest post from Samantha Davies on board her Vendee Globe racer Roxy, she details problems with communications and rigging failures. Davies has been lucky, though, only 13 Vendee Globe boats are still in the race. Seventeen boats have retired from the contest. The latest being Vincent Riou aboard PRB, who lost his mast after damaging a spreader while rescuing Jean Le Cam following the capsize of his boat VM MatÃ©riaux.
From Davies’ post: On board Roxy, things have been challenging me all day. First of all, the Fleet 77 radio stopped working. After dismantling it, I eventually diagnosed the problem as a faulty voltage convertor that has suffered from the extreme conditions by succumbing to interior condensation. I tried to dry it out, but no luck yet: it is nestling in the engine box as one final attempt.
So, I was forced to put my electrician hat on and work out a way to bypass that convertor and work from a separate one. My back-up plan is to pass my keel batteries in series to create 24V if necessary.
As I packed away my electrician tools, I went on deck for a check, as the wind was dropping. To my frustration, I discovered the first reef line badly chafed through. This meant I had to put on my monkey equipment, plus riggers hat, and scramble out to the end of the boom to fix the rope. In fact, this is just a temporary repair in the form of a bowline to get us into the Atlantic where I can carry out a neater job.
I didn’t want to spend too much time out on the end of the boom; although the wind was not too strong, there was a nasty swell that was flinging us around a lot. Just as I had put away my rigging kit and we got to the end of a surf, there was a loud bang and the boom fired into the air. More frustration followed as I realised the vang cable had broken completely in two.
I was very lucky it hadn’t happened ten minutes earlier when I was on the end of the boom. Although I had put a safety retainer on the boom (and I was clipped on), I think I would have been given rather a jolt!
SO, I got the rigging kit back out and set about replacing the cable. Luckily, I have a spare pre-made vang cable, although it is not as solid as the original. Once the vang was back in place I settled into the role of rigger for the afternoon, preparing a better cable so I have another spare ready to go on. I will put this new one on in the Atlantic.
So after a busy day I am now waiting for my pasta to cook. The wind is still light, with a nasty sea state, meaning I am sailing cautiously without the biggest sails up.