Playing with the winds…

Published on 12.10.2010 - The Northern Passage 2010

Børge Ousland reparing the rudder

Børge Ousland reparing the rudder

© Børge Ousland

Børge Ousland and his shipmates have sailed north of the Faroe islands. They are now starting the descent towards the Shetlands Archipelago and the west coast of Norway. Everything is fine on board.

Two minor setbacks hit the expedition though since our last report.

First, the leaks that bring water into the hulls - "30-40 liters in the exposed pontoon after three-day-gale", says their update. Here is what Ousland writes about this : "The only thing that is not so good, are the leaks. We’re still getting 30–40 litres in the exposed pontoon after the three–day gale, and a couple of buckets of water are entering the main hull of the boat as well – both the living compartments and the front part where the toilet is. We have not been able to pinpoint where the water is coming from, but we have heard that other Corsair owners have suffered similar problems, so it might be a fault in the design or production. ..."

Second : on October 10th, they made an unfortunate discovery : trimaran's rudder was broken. It had split down the middle and the parts were moving inside their frame. So Ousland took the decision the get the sails down and to repair without the slightest delay. As the photo shows, they had to drill holes along the crack to be able to sew parts together afterwards.

Ousland's route back to Norway

Ousland's route back to Norway


Excerpts from October 10th update : "We made an unfortunate discovery: our rudder was broken. It had split down the middle, and the parts were moving and twisting inside their frame. That was an emergency that called for immediate action. We took our sails down and started the repair. Børge drilled a series of holes along the crack and sewed it together with Denema cord, and added some extra bolts farther down then blade. Then he drilled a larger hole trough the frame itself, while Thorleif borrowed a large bolt from the mast, which we don’t really need. With this bolt going straight through the frame we were able to squeeze the rudder together and hold everything in place. We have an extra rudder at home, but we are confident this repair will last all the way. Knock on wood, so to speak…".

That said, the trimaran is sailing allright on this dangerous part of the Atlantic. One day, they have the winds with them ; another day, they have to do a bit of tacking because they face gale-force winds coming from the east.

No need to say, during this period of the expedition, the communication between the boat and the meteorologist on duty Marc De Jeyzer is extremely important. If they have sailed north of the Faroe Islands instead of south, for instance, that's because De Keyzer had foreseen winds coming from the North after the archipelago ; team could thus plan to pe pushed towards the Shetlands and go faster than if they had sailed south of Faroe.

And that's exactly what is happening now. On October 7th, expedition's blog reports that they had done the last 75 nautical miles at an average speed of 6.14 knots.

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