While the latter half of the Vendee fleet weathers worst storm yet, Roland Jourdain limps to Auckland with loose keel

Bruce Schwab (Ocean Planet) has managed to weather the storm and escape damage from the deep depression which hit him overnight see previous news story here.

However, as predicted Joe Seeten (Arcelor Dunkerque) and Patrice Carpentier (VM Materiaux) are likely to take the full brunt of the converging depressions with winds expected to reach 60kts in the eye of the storm with gusts of up to 80kts by this afternoon.

Meanwhile Roland Jourdain who has seriously damaged his keel and retired from the race is currently sailing with minimum sail area and making 9 knots towards New Zealand. Speaking to the Vincent Borde from the shore crew this morning it seems that Jourdain is planning to head to Auckland.

Jourdain is however, preparing for the worst and the current situation shows that the keel might disappear altogether. But according to Borde, the yacht can sail without its keel. He added: “With the use of ballast the boat should stay upright if the weather doesn’t get too extreme.”

While it’s too early to say exactly why the keel has failed, it will be interesting to find out if the problem is connected in any way to keel vibration problems he and Jean Le Cam had earlier in the year which forced them both to miss the Transat, while the keels were being totally reinforced.

More news when we have it.