Fedor fights weather to repair rudder at sea

Current position 06:30 UTC 18th March 2008
Day 51:The rudder problems confronting Fedor Konyukhov's bid to be the first to sail solo non-stop around the Antarctica Cup Race Track have been traced to a stainless steel sleeve that was introduced to the steering system on his Open 85ft yacht with Trading Network Alye Parusa during minor refit work prior to the start of this challenge from Albany, Western Australia.

Oscar Konyukhov, Fedor's son who is directing shore support from Albany, explains: 'The problem we have is that the starboard side rudder tiller fixing is damaged. The bolt that fixes the tiller to the carbon pole from the rudder is shredded. Fedor needs a period of light winds, flat seas, and some sunshine to conduct repairs. He needs a dry day to work with composite materials and a flat sea in order to disconnect the rudder from the tiller. Not something you would normally want to do at 50 South! '

Oscar Konyukhov said: 'When I spoke to Fedor 1200 UTC. He said that headwinds are gusting up to30-35 knots. He is sailing close-hauled (30°T) under mainsail only to reduce drift to the west. The forecast suggested a shift at 0900 UTC, but at 1200 UTC the wind is still from the NE. Fedor thinks this is because he is moving NW with the front, and not through it. He is confident that he can repair the problem subject to the weather and ocean status. Right now he is experiencing heavy rain, fog, squalls, waves crashing on deck and God knows what - anything but the break of sunshine he needs.'

He continued 'We are threatened with a stopover in Cape Town, which would be a very bad scenario for everybody if it comes to that. Fedor will do his best to conduct the repair while still at sea.'

Current position: 50° 20'16'S 50° 16' 38'W
Course: 08°
Speed: 7.3knots.
Distance sailed since start: 8,382.4n.m

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