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Vendee Globe - Keel Ram problem on SMA

The attrition rate continues to rise in the Vendee Globe. Tuesday at 14:15 UTC, Paul Meilhat contacted his team to inform them of a problem with his keel ram.

The ram has a 40 cm (16 inch) crack and this has led to the keel canting leeward of the boat.

Paul is in the process of blocking the system to try to get the keel in the middle. To carry out this operation, he bore away and is heading towards the north.

It was after hearing an unusual noise early this afternoon that the skipper of SMA went to inspect his keel housing.

He immediately realised that oil from the hydraulic circuit had flooded the ram compartment.

He thought first of all that it was a pipe that had burst in the hydraulic circuit, but then noticed a 40 cm crack in the ram itself.

SMA is currently in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2000 miles east of New Zealand.

Meanwhile Tuesday morning Thomas Ruyant on his critically damaged IMOCA Le Souffle du Nord gained some help.

He was able to breath a huge sigh of relief when he took on board two specialist technicians who were armed with a pump.

At 15:30hrs UTC, with the two specialists on board and the pump working, Le Souffle du Nord was 25 miles from the haven of Bluff, the southernmost town on South Island, New Zealand.

Thomas Ruyant . . .

"The rig was limp and I no longer had any backstays. It was all hanging by a thread."

"After that tricky moment and rounding the famous cape, I realised that I was going to make it."

"There was an incredible moment of satisfaction with the sun going down along the coast of New Zealand.”

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