Both hydraulic rams on Conrad Humphreys' Hellomoto have failed
Four days ago the starboard hydraulic ram that swings the keel on Conrad Humphreys’ Vendee Globle yacht Hellomoto failed after an oil seal blew. A few days later the other one went. Humphreys explained the situation:
“On Hellomoto we have two hydraulic rams in the event that one fails the other is robust enough to still swing the keel 100 per cent. Having isolated the faulty starboard ram, the port ram was only just holding the keel at half cant, which was ok, but over the next few days the pressure in the system gradually failed, eventually this ram has also failed.
“With the keel swinging violently from side to side, I wrapped the storm jib sheets around each ram carefully. Gradually the keel had less and less range to swing, until eventually it was contained on the centerline.
“There was still an alarming fore and aft pitching of the keel in the bearing, so I tried unsuccessfully to lash the keel forward of the mast base. The only way to cant the keel would be to crash tack Hellomoto and let gravity do the work. With Hellomoto lying on her ear, I could then relash the keel before tacking back. It took me half and hour to re-set the lashing before tacking the boat back. I was covered in sweat. I’d gained 10 degrees of keel cant, just enough to stop the keel rocking on the centerline. Four hours later as the pressure in the lashings stretched, I would need to re-do the whole manoeuvre.
“As to the future and whether we can sail 5,000 miles like this to the finish in LSD, I dont know. Today we will try and repair the starboard ram and replace the oil lost. Realistically, we have to do this to give us any chance.”