Velux 5 Oceans Race competitor Graham Dalton suffers more problems which could threaten race 4/4/07

Graham Dalton who suffered a stream of unfortunate incidents during the second leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race including losing his keel (see previous news story here) is not out of the woods yet.

Having worked tirelessly to re-construct a new keel bulb and successfully re-attach it to the keel fin, disaster has struck once again. While he was out testing the new keel earlier this the rudder reference unit that is connected to the autopilots blew up, which means he needs to fix it before he can leave Fortaleza, Brazil.

The autopilot is the lifeblood of the solo sailor as it allows them to steer the boat mechanically so that they can do jobs such as check the weather reports, essential boat maintenance and other important functions such as eating and sleeping.

Although an ever-optimistic Dalton says he’ll fix the problem and restart the race, the chances of remaining in the competition diminishes by the hour. Just 14 days to complete the 3,000-mile journey to Virginia leaves very little margin for error. He must then complete a mandatory stopover of 72 hours which mean he must arrive in Norfolk by the 19 April before the start of Leg 3 (final leg) on 22 April.