Misfortune befalls Ichi Ban

Matt Allen's VOR70 suffers rudder breakage

Friday December 28th 2007, Author: Jim Gale, Location: Australasia
Matt Allen’s Jones 70 Ichi Ban, which moved into third place when Skandia broke the top of its mast, suffered its own misfortune at 10.30am this morning (00:30 GMT) when their port rudder blade snapped. Fortunately the Volvo Open 70 design has twin rudders.

“We are not sure whether we hit something. We heard a bang and I looked back 20 seconds later to see most of the rudder blade floating away,” reported a disappointed Allen who is desperately trying to hold onto second on overall handicap but will struggle to maintain speed once he reaches Tasman Island off the south east Tasmanian coast.

“We have rebalanced the boat to try and dig the starboard rudder in so we can steer. We’ve had a couple of broaches and we’ve had to slow the boat down.It seems unlikely it would have just broken off. We had a spinnaker wrapped around it this morning when a halyard broke…I’m not sure whether that caused some damage,” added Allen.

From Tasman Island Ichi Ban will be on starboard tack to the mouth of the Derwent River. This means Allen will have to cant the keel and reduce sail to keep as much of the broken rudder in the water as possible as Ichi Ban reaches across Storm Bay and then tacks up the Derwent River in the nor’west breeze.

This morning prior to the incident Ichi Ban was hitting top speeds of 24 knots and at 1215hrs today they were still sitting on a respectable 16 knots with 53 nautical miles to the finish.

Last year Ichi Ban finished second over the line to Wild Oats XI and fourth on
overall handicap.

Navigator Conrad Humphreys reports from on board
Ichi Ban :

At just after 10:00am, whilst power reaching towards Tasman Island, we heard a 'crack' and shortly afterwards the port rudder blade sheared off the back. Its a cruel blow to an awesome performance, as we were looking good for the overall race win. Having pulled back to within a 100 miles of Wild Oats and less than 90 miles to City Index Leopard, we only needed to cover the last 60 miles at an average of 12 knots to be within sight of the top prize.

We are still racing, and currently our speed is around 14-16 knots as we keep the boat upright tobe able to sail on one rudder to the finish. After passing Tasman Island, we will be on the wind on starboard tack, so we will need to balance the boat and keep it pretty upright to be able to cross Storm Bay and head for the finish.

With the overall prize slipping, it is still possible to finish ahead of the bigger maxis on corrected time which would make the first few beers in Hobart a little easier to slide down. I don't know how we will go when we turn the corner, but on my reckoning we still have 5.5 hours to cross the line...theres a chance.

The boys have been ribbing me about the rudder, suggesting that if we pull into Tasman Bay, I can dive under the boat and fix it! I told them the water was a lot warmer in Cape Town!

More when we cross the line in Hobart

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