Crack and you're over


Gunnar Krantz reflects on the loss of SEB's rudder that put them out of leg three
It is always good to wait a while before trying to describe an incident. Comments and observations are picked up and a clearer picture is painted. We were sailing along in 17 knots of wind with a jib and a main up. Nothing special, almost close hauled with normal swell and waves. Suddenly we heard a low thump/bang and we lost the steering. The boat tacked by itself and we heeled over to starboard with all the ballast, gear and sails on that side. Immediately we could hear a crushing sound and the composite work list was getting longer and longer. At the same time we heard the sound of massive amounts of water filling the aft compartment and the rest of the boat. It happened very quickly. It did not take many seconds before the water was flooding from the aft to the middle of the boat. Priority number one was to close the watertight doors to prevent sinking and damage to equipment more than what was unavoidable. Sails were dropped and Tony [Mutter] who was steering could see the tip of the rudder sticking out beside the boat. At this time the rudder was still hanging in the hole for the bottom bearing. The stock was wildly swinging around and breaking the quadrant and the port longitudinal framework, thus the crushing sound. In the process the casing for the bottom rudder bearing, laminated to the hull, got severely damaged. Now, when water was prevented from spreading too much in the boat the priority was to stop water from entering the aft compartment. We had to get rid of the rudder and quickly the quadrant was unbolted, a rope tied to the stock and then the rudderstock was kicked out of the hole. The aft end of the boat was rapidly sinking now

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