Hobson fixes rudder while battling with leader in Route du Rhum Class 3 6/11/06

With just two boats in the Class 3 multihull fleet in the Route du Rhum British sailor Ross Hobson on Ideal Stelrad continues to battle it out with Pierre Antoine on Imagine. Over the weekend Hobson has gained significant pace and is now just 15 miles off the leader. Here’s Ross’s latest log from the racecourse…

Position on Monday 6 November 0800 GMT 39 16.12′ N, 34 27.00′ W

Day 7
Been at sea now for 7 days. No major problems and I feel I’m well settled into the routine. Wind for the last 24 hours has been slowly decreasing from 20-25 knots to 10-14knots. But has remained between NE and ESE, the sea has flattened and at last I have been able to make use of the gennaker again. Even in thee deep reaching condition the sail pulls the apparent wind so far forward that even though the wind is from almost astern, I am essentially reaching ‘upwind’ and increasing the wind speed by up to 1.5 times. So it’s extremely good for boat speed. The charger has been playing up for the past 48 hours and I think I have found the problem – part of the system had not been wired in by the installers, rather just tied up out of the way – idiots! So I hope that has it fixed.

Had a bit of a moment around dawn this morning – I noticed that Ideal Stelrad was not answering to the helm correctly, minimal helm loads and lot of movement to achieve any change in direction of the boat. Felt as if the boat has lost the rudder or dagger board. A quick inspection – no they are still there and ok…. Some diagnosing later and I found where a nut I came across in the cockpit yesterday was from; it had come from the linkage at the head of the rudder. It had come loose.

Tools out and 10 minutes later, everything fixed. What was very nice was how well balance Ideal Stelrad was with no rudder input. We were scooting along at 10-12kts under full sail, I dropped the main down the track a little to balance her and no rudder input need – Fantastic.
What else have I been doing with my time? We do have periods when the autopilot and boat is sailing as efficiently as if someone was on the helm.

So we sleep, eat, then read and listen to music – I have also been reviewing some 50 odd research abstract submissions for the annual conference of International Association for Dental Research to be held in new Orleans next March, just got to email the outcome for those submissions that will be accepted, or rejected, today – all part of the ‘day job’.