Pip Hare replaces cracked rudder stock (Vendée Globe update 8Jan21)

Pip Hare needed a weather window in the depths of the South Pacific Ocean to allow her to replace the port rudder of her IMOCA Medallia, which she discovered had a crack in its stock (the shaft which locates into the hull of the boat).

It is a complicated operation which the 45 year old skipper practised at the dock in Les Sables d’Olonne, France before the start of the race, but was much more difficult in the southern oceans.

“Yesterday I was scared and apprehensive,” says Hare. “The conditions were far from ideal, a big swell and a forecast for a light patch between gales. I talked through the procedure with Joff and with Paul, the main concern was slowing the boat down enough to get the rudder in and then the boat landing on the rudder stock and doing damage to either. Eventually, with a drogue out of the back and under bare poles in 16-18 knots of breeze, I went for it.”

Maître Coq skipper, Yannick Bestaven has gained over 200 miles on the solo skippers immediately behind him. The 48 year old from La Rochelle has the biggest lead of the race yet at 440 nautical miles.

“It’s great to have been able to pass the high-pressure zone, I was able to gain some miles and then make good speed. I am satisfied with that, but when I look at what is going to happen ahead of me… I feel like the bungee cord is going to snap back and those behind me will start closing the gap.” 

Hear from the skippers around the fleet

Pip Hare is aching and bruised but she’s ‘back in the game’

“Every part of my body aches. I have bloody knuckles on every finger, bruises all down my legs and muscles I didn’t know I had that hurt but YES!!!!! The new rudder is in and Medallia is back in the game.”

The whole procedure took Hare about an hour and a half, following many hours of preparation. “My heart was in my mouth the whole time,” she says. “There were some tough moments and I had to plead with my boat and the ocean a couple of times, but when that new rudder stock finally came shooting up through the deck level bearing, the out-loud whooping that came from me could easily have been heard for miles around…if anyone had been there to hear it.

“I’m now back in the game, the breeze has filled in and Medallia is humming along at 15 knots and I can’t quite believe that I did that.” (08.21 8Jan21)

Miranda Merron is having a bad day

The calm weather is over for Miranda Merron who has spent the last 24 hours navigating a depression from the North which has completely changed the conditions for her onboard France Campagne. “24 hours ago there were 2 knots of wind and now there are 30 knots. Navigating to try to avoid the worst of this depression. Every once in a while, there’s a wave that invades the cockpit.

“Sam Holliday has arranged for me some friend letters that I open from time to time. There’s an envelope marked ‘to be read on a real shit day’. Well today seemed like the good day and I found a beautiful letter from my girlfriend Angela in Melbourne. It’s good for morale!” (08.38 8Jan21)

Watch yesterday’s round-up from race organisers

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