Movistar and Pirates forced to head for Portugal after overnight problems

Inside 24 hours two boats were understood to be reporting serious problems on the first leg to Cape Town causing them to alter course and limp towards Portugal.

Paul Cayard’s Pirates of the Caribbean was understood to have sprung a leak which had seriously damaged the electronics aboard their Volvo 70. According to a report on the official web site:

‘The boat had lost computer control of the keel hydraulics and that as a result, the keel was not operational, compromising the racing ability of the boat, though not its safety. Falmouth Coastguard MRCC was informed, and told that the boat was not in danger and was heading for Cascais in Portugal.’

Aboard Movistar the problems were understood to be more serious. Again, according to reports on the Volvo site:

‘?.the boat [Movistar] had fractured a keel ram shelf, the support that carries the fixed end of one of the massive hydraulic rams that actuate the swinging keel.

‘Shortly after the original incident, however, the boat reported further problems. This more serious damage caused Bouwe Bekking, movistar’s skipper to report, “The load on the one ram must have been huge, as the main bulkhead buckled badly. No other option than to head to port as it is not safe to carry on.’

The team are understood to be heading towards Cadiz to assess the damage.

With over 20,000 miles and a world distance record already under their belt few would have expected Movistar to be experiencing problems at all, let alone so early in the event. And while the safety of the crews is of paramount importance to the race organisers, to have two boats experiencing such serious problems within the first 24 hours of the race will have been a major blow.

Meanwhile others were also experiencing problems, albeit less serious. Race leaders ABN 1 experienced steering problems and had to back off allowing their sistership ABN 2 to pass them and take the lead.

The Australian entry Brunel Sunergy also had steering problems with cavitation affecting the rudders.

From a weather point of view, the news didn’t look promising either with a forecast of 40-50 knots during the next 24 hours.

An explosive start to the race.