07 February 2021 - 11:21 • 8776 views

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Manu Cousin suffered damage to his keel ram system which is leaving it swinging on its axis. He spoke on the morning radio call....

Manu Cousin this morning

"I was heading north racing close hauled in the trade winds. I was paying attention: it was a fairly hard sailing but nothing unusual for our boats. And then dropping from a wave, I heard a huge crack, a noise where you realise immediately something has happened. The rod in the ram has broken cleanly. The hydraulic cylinder is used to make the keel cant and when the rod broke it damaged the locking system and the carbon supporting structure.

I worked all night to strengthen this system and hope to be able to jam the keel in the central axis tp be able to finish my Vendée Globe. We'll put the race on hold a bit for sure, but the priority is to bring the boat back to the finish. I think I'm still going to work on it all day because there are very big loads on it. I've seen better days but I'm not giving up. I am doing all I can to fix it.

We have a swing keel and the cylinder is used to make it cant. The most annoying thing is that we do have a keel locking system to fix it in the axis if this cylinder breaks but when the ram broke it damaged this system. It smashed the carbon reinforcements of the system and so I have made a composite repair and reinforced this system all night to hope to be able to block the keel in the axis to be able to finish my Vendée Globe. We will put the race aside a bit for sure.

I have the equipment to repair it on board, I am doing everything I can. I am quite fed up really, I'm not sure how to express it, I'm obviously very disappointed. I haven't thought about giving up just yet anyway. But if I can't get the keel back fixed, I won't be able to reach Les Sables. On the other hand, I won't take any risks, not for me not the boat