30 January 2013 19:00 GMT
Following the news released on 29 January at 22:30 GMT that Mike Golding, skipper of Gamesa, had problems with the keel pivot fairing, Golding has called in to his Southampton Team Headquarters with an update:
“The solution we have come up with is holding, I can’t afford to stop and my focus is to keep the boat moving towards the finish. The situation has improved slightly as a result of the rope we wrapped around the bearing plate to stem the flow, and at the moment the level and pressure of the water is being controlled. I’m keeping a close eye on it.
“There are other things that I could do but that involves stopping, and I’m in a race to Les Sables d’Olonne, fighting for fifth and stopping is not an option I want to consider right now.”
Golding has sent through the picture below taken through one of the inspection hatches in the keel box lid, with the bow of Gamesa at the top of the image. The silver piece is the steel capping on the top of the keel head and the gold bar is the starboard ram rod. It is a wet box, but normally there would not be the turbulence visible and at 10 knots the box should be nearly dry.
Golding commented, “This photo is shot at 10 knots of boat speed and you can see the water entering under pressure over the keel head; at 15 knots with the rope and the other things we have jammed in place, the keel box is half full, at 17 knots it covers the gaiter and above that …. we haven’t yet found out.”
Golding is currently lying in sixth position in the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe, 700 miles South of the Azores, just 46 miles behind his closest rival, Jean Le Cam, with both skippers matched for speed at around 13 knots on the latest poll at 15:00 GMT.