Chafed lines, snapped cables and broken radios

Sam Davies, the leading Briton in the Vendee Globe singlehanded non-stop around-the-world yacht race, has had a difficult 24 hours aboard her Open 60,Roxy. She reports on her daily log that day 60 of the race was one of ‘sad news, a broken radio and snapped cables’.

The 34-year-old skipper, who is expected to take fourth place ifPRBretires from the race, has had to deal with a number of technical problems. First she had to dismantle her radio, which had succumbed to the Southern Ocean atmospheric conditions, and then make a temporary repair to a chafed reefing line which involved her climbing out to the end of her boom in a ‘nasty swell that was flinging us around a lot’. Then her vang cable broke in two: ‘I was very lucky it hadn’t happened ten minutes earlier when I was on the end of the boom,’ writes the intrepid sailor, ‘I would have been given rather a jolt!.’

She continues: ‘On boardRoxy, things have been challenging me all day. First of all, the Fleet 77 radio stopped working. After dismantling it, I eventually diagnosed the problem as a faulty voltage convertor that has suffered from the extreme conditions by succumbing to interior condensation. I tried to dry it out, but no luck yet: it is nestling in the engine box as one final attempt.

‘So, I was forced to put my electrician hat on and work out a way to bypass that convertor and work from a separate one. My back-up plan is to pass my keel batteries in series to create 24V if necessary.

‘As I packed away my electrician tools, I went on deck for a check, as the wind was dropping. To my frustration, I discovered the first reef line badly chafed through. This meant I had to put on my monkey equipment, plus riggers hat, and scramble out to the end of the boom to fix the rope. In fact, this is just a temporary repair in the form of a bowline to get us into the Atlantic where I can carry out a neater job.

‘I didn’t want to spend too much time out on the end of the boom; although the wind was not too strong. Just as I had put away my rigging kit and we got to the end of a surf, there was a loud bang and the boom fired into the air. More frustration followed as I realised the vang cable had broken completely in two.

‘So, I got the rigging kit back out and set about replacing the cable. Luckily, I have a spare pre-made vang cable, although it is not as solid as the original. Once the vang was back in place I settled into the role of rigger for the afternoon, preparing a better cable so I have another spare ready to go on. I will put this new one on in the Atlantic.

‘So after a busy day I am now waiting for my pasta to cook. The wind is still light, with a nasty sea state, meaning I am sailing cautiously without the biggest sails up.’