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Ocean Planet Vendée Globe Update:
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Position 42 38S, 99 43E, @ 10:31 UT

What a bummer!

After more than 3 years, 1-1/2 times around the world, 4 transatlantic crossings without any problems at all, the mounting for our radar dome has a serious issue:


The upper bracket for the actuator arm that controls the radar angle was thru-bolted to the platform that our Nobeltec Insight 2 radar is mounted. From what I can see, the bolt and washer pulled a small chunk of fiberglass right out and the bolt and bracket are still attached to the actuator arm which is now hanging off to the side.

If I can get up there it shouldn’t be too hard to just tie the radar horizontal, which will work. The problem is getting up there. In order to clear our original boom, the radar tower is tilted aft and hangs over the water. Even at the dock it is a real pain to work on the top. I think I can do it, but it will have to be in smooth water. I don’t even remember what smooth water is like anymore, and to find it anywhere around here is not going to happen. Even though I am the most northerly in the fleet, the waves here are supremely irritating and somewhat dangerous. We have been whacked by a few breakers today and it hasn’t even been that windy here.

I am going to have to watch the weather as we near Tasmania and New Zealand and look for possible hiding spots. To be without our radar in the south would not be smart, and possibly even more dangerous around ship traffic. Anchoring at a place like Campbell Island is a possibility, but of course that makes me nervous as that could bring its own dangers.

Other than that, we are sailing along. There is a little creaking coming from the keel box which we had before our refit, but I thought we had it cured. It should not be an issue as our keel is really strong, but it is irritating nonetheless. That is something I can also look at in smoother water where I can take off the keel trunk lid and look inside.

Anyways, stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll have better news soon!

Bruce Schwab, Skipper
USA 05/Ocean Planet


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