Spanish 5 Oceans race sailor Unai Basurko has problem with port-side rudder but continues to race 23/11/06

Spanish sailor Unai Basurko sailing the new Open 60 Pakea in the Velux 5 Oceans race has a problem with his port rudder. According to the race organisers Basurko reported the incident earlier this morning adding that he is not in any immediate danger and is continuing to race, safe and well.

The top of the port rudder appears to be delaminating and detaching itself from the structure of the rudder at the top. Basurko has lifted the rudder so that it is not in the water, and he is currently on port tack. Unai has been in contact with his shore team about the problem and is continuing to race and heading for Fremantle with the possibility of diverting to Cape Town if needed. Unai will contact the race headquarters if he requires further assistance.

Speaking on the morning audio interview, the Basque skipper explained: “Yesterday, at about 1730 I heard several strange little noises in the port rudder area, and after a closer examination, I saw the carbon fibre was damaged in the joint of the rudder and the hull. It wasn’t broken, and even the damage isn’t really severe, but I decided to lift the rudder to minimize the friction in that zone of the boat.

“I immediately contacted my shore team and we’ve been thinking about all the options we have now to solve this problem. I think we’ll keep on sailing to South Africa and I’ll thoroughly examine the rudder everyday, and if the damage gets bigger, we’ll stop in South Africa to repair it. If everything goes well, we could even head to Australia and fix the problem in Fremantle. Then, once in the Southern Ocean, I’d try to get in a more northerly route than the other skippers. Moreover, we could sail on port tack most of the 4,000 miles way to Fremantle, which would be good news for me”.

“Right now I’m doing about 10 knots in a 15 knots easterly breeze. I’m trying not to push the boat too hard, but anyway our average speed during the last hours, around 10 knots, is not so bad. For me, it would be brilliant to keep this 10 knots pace until the finish line in Fremantle!

“From now on I have to learn to handle Pakea differently: I’ll try not to push her too hard. It’s going to be a difficult task to get to Fremantle this way, but I hope everything is going to be ok.

“I’m in good shape, I’m trying to get correctly fed, to sleep as much as I can…everything is ok. Yesterday I was really affected by the problem onboard, but after talking to my team and analyzing objectively the problem, I feel much better and I try to be as optimistic as I can.”