Second-placed Roland Jourdain heads for Azores with keel trouble

Sam Davies’ chances of a podium finish improved dramatically at 0400 this morning when second-placed Roland Jourdain contacted his shore team to tell them he was heading for the Sao Miguel in the Azores with keel problems. Davies, currently fourth and battling to stay ahead of Marc Guillemot’s Safran, is back in the northern hemisphere and speeding north.

Last night Jourdain’s Open 60 Veolia was making ‘suspicious’ noises so he stopped the boat to investigate. Finding nothing, he raised sail again and Veolia instantly heeled right over.

Jourdain does not know whether his keel bulb has fallen off or the fin is damaged but he believes whatever the problem is, its origins lie in a collision with a sea mammal on 8 January. He is sure the boat has hit nothing since then.

At the moment Veolia is heading northwest at 10 knots so it will be a couple of days before he makes it to Sao Miguel, some 640 miles away.