Bullens restarts

Belgium Velux 5 Oceans competitor returned to Cape Town with rudder problems

Sunday December 19th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: South Africa

After a fine effort by a team of volunteers on the dock in Cape Town working to fix his yacht Five Oceans of Smiles too, Belgian ocean racer Christophe Bullens is set to restart leg two of the Velux 5 Oceans. The 49-year-old was forced to head back to Cape Town on Friday with rudder problems, just over 24 hours after starting the 7,500 nautical mile sprint to New Zealand.

On his return yesterday to the South African port, a team of local volunteers jumped to help Bullens sort out the alignment issues with the yacht’s twin rudders.

One of the volunteers was Cape Town marine engineer Allan Brink who has given his time generously since Bullens arrived in Cape Town early in December. Brink and his wife own the yacht Voortrekker II which did the BOC Challenge in 1986 as Tuna Marine with South African solo sailor John Martin. Also helping out was Glenn Drewry, a fitter, turner and tool maker, along with Cape Town harbour master Steven Bentley and his crew Chris Roux.

Bullens is due to go for a test sail this morning when he will calibrate his autopilots. Then if all is well he will head off to join the rest of the Velux 5 Oceans boats bound for New Zealand. Bullens will face a southeasterly breeze blowing around 30 knots when he restarts. The rest of the ocean racers are currently stuck trying to fight through a high pressure system blocking their route to the prevailing westerlies they need to send them to Wellington.

Canadan Derek Hatfield on Active House continues to lead, 35 miles ahead of all-American boy Brad van Liew on Le Pingouin.

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