The Spanish Volvo Open 70 movistar has reported a fault with the keel hydraulics on their Farr-designed boat

According to this report on the Spanish Volvo Open 70 movistar, currently lying third in the VOR, has reported a fault with the keel hydraulics on their Farr-designed boat. The fault – a much less dramatic description than breakage or failure – seems not to have affected their performance today and they continue to close on the leading two ABN AMRO boats. They are still sailing at 11 knots towards the south western corner of Australia, sailing a course of about 68 degrees.

The text of the release from the team is as follows: “movistar has reported a fault with the port-hand hydraulic ram – one of the two rams that operates the canting keel system. The crew and the rest of the boat are fine, and they are maintaining optimal speeds as they near the coast of Australia and close in on the leaders of Leg 2. They are considering a stop in South West Australia to make an assessment of the damage and a quick repair before rejoining the race to the finish in Melbourne.”

The port of Albany is very close to the scoring gate at Eclipse Island and the boat would be able to score points at the gate, then take a short stop to repair the fault before continuing the 1,300 nautical miles or so to the finish at Melbourne. Given the weather conditions that look likely to prevail for the rest of the 480 nautical mile run to the scoring gate – five to seven knots of wind from initially the north-west, then going easterly – it might be a gentle passage not only for movistar, but also for all the boats in the leading pack.

Earlier today movistar reported another hydraulic problem when a seal in their boom vang – which pulls the mainsail boom down to keep correct sail shape while reaching off the wind – failed, spraying oil over the deck and allowing the boom to lift. This problem, however, should be a simple matter to resolve by using spare Vectran line and blocks to create a replacement that will do the same job.

After the scoring gate at Eclipse Island, the winds are forecast to increase to about 20 knots from the east. This will give a testing sail to windward to Melbourne for all the boats and one that would not perhaps be taken lightly by anyone with damaged equipment.