Crew keep a close eye on the steering and have to get out the sewing kit

“Well what an end to a great day…and just when you think things are going well. At approx 17:20 this eve I woke to a commotion on deck, swiftly jumped out of my bunk and arrived to find that while everyone was attempting to gybe west?it turned out that the steering was having major problems if not in auto helm.

We could not steer to port at all. The boat was trying to gybe and this then caused the main to back (luckily as we also do, we had the preventer on). However the main took such a force with the wind angle trying to back it that it caused the main to tear near the top panel. This was the last of our worries! We still had no steering.

We quickly removed all of the items stored in the Laz, actually I think it more of a case of launching half the stuff out and into the cockpit to allow us to gain access to the steering quadrants and hydraulic rams. The lads were quick on the case with tool kits and with bits of boat in and out being taken apart left right and centre to gain access to the steering cables and assess what was the problem. They soon had things in control as the boat was steering ok with the auto helm on.

Anyway to cut a long story short one of the hydraulic rams had dumped all of its fluid and was unable to move correctly when out of auto helm. Nick, Fin and Steven have managed to resolve the problem at least until the morning when we can review the situation not only with the steering but also the main.

As we are only 150 miles from the Cape Verdes we can always divert there to resolve any issues however at present we are keen to continue on to St. Lucia. We are confident that we can mend the main sufficiently and that the remaining ram will be able to take the load of the steering until we arrive in Caribbean where the problems can be fully rectified.

So until the morning we are keeping a very close eye on the steering, have lashed the main down, and we have the sail repair kit at the ready.”