Second placed Roland Jourdain has slowed and is heading to the Azores with a keel problem

Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) is now slowed and heading for the Azores after suffering keel damage last night (29 January). At around 04:00 GMT this morning, he called his shore team to tell them that he has a problem with his keel. For the moment the boat is stable and continuing on a course towards the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, some 640 miles to his North East.

Very late in the night while sailing under mainsail and genoa, Jourdain heard a suspicious noise and went to investigate. He stopped his boat to check everything he could see but did not find anything unusual. It was only after trimming the sails on again that the boat took on an abnormal heel.

Jourdain concluded almost immediately that there is damage to his keel. At this time he does not know whether he has lost the bulb or whether the keel blade has been damaged in some way.

His team say that today’s damage is possibly a consequence of his collision with a sea mammal on 8 January. Since then the boat has had no subsequent impact with any type of floating or semi-submerged objects.

For a discussion on keel failures in the Vendée Globe fleet, the problems the skippers face and what the class is discussing doing to try to solve this repeated catastrophic failures, see Elaine Bunting’s blog.