Here is what he writes on his own web site lotteogdag.com - www.lotteogdag.com
i used google
to get this al in english
(Cape Verde, Mindelo Marina Dec 7. 2012) We write 1 December morning, the fifth day after the start in Las Palmas
. Lotte has retrieved advent calendar and sweets in the cockpit
. We sail in steady 8-9 knots with Spridda sails
, greatly torn spinnaker
on a corner of the mainsail
out. The speed jumps and up to 10 to 11 knots or more. The sea and wind
into stern - the waves are big and the wind
constant 30-40 knots, but mode hums away like a rolling train and take lakes fine. It is simply a great race
, I do not think we have sailed so well ever such a long time. We see from ARC
updates that we are behind in the field, but it is as expected. We are four board that uses a lot of effort to keep us stuck and we sleep probably pretty bad, but everyone is happy - and the boat is happy.
At 11:40, we must adjust the wind pipe and also the main helm
as the boat cut into the wind. The rudder
feels odd to starboard, it is almost locked - but it's okay to port. I find it odd that the steering wheel
is so heavy, but there and then I guess it is because of the enormous power we have from sea and air. I have to check it later, there is no time to get the ship back on course again. Vindror and ruder set properly. A few minutes later the same thing happens; boat cuts to port and into the wind again. We try to do the same procedure again, adjust the air rudder and unlock the main rudder in neutral. But this time we are unable to steer the boat to starboard. We have full lock to SB but the autopilot
display indicates that the wheel
is against BB. Something is seriously gærnt. I run down to the engine
room to check. Plenty of water
everywhere - the splash back and forth. Roper to the others that we take in water
, came with buckets - I begin to pump the bilge pump
. Lotte and Jan Ludvig open hatch
over propellerakselen, water falls into. I ask Mickey continue pumping and see that the water does not come from propellerakselen, it must come from the rudder post. Fully stern there is a large hatch
down to rorkvadrant and control. In January Ludvigs help I get removed extra sails
and chart located and close for the hatch. Open the hatch and peering down into a giant hole where the blue Atlantic flashes. The seawater surging through rudderstock tube. This is an emergency
The time is 11:45 December 1, 2012: We have lost
the main helm
and taking on water. I find out a huge bag with large wooden pegs, which are large enough to cover the rudder post. Banks into a wooden plug
with a hammer and secures with a clamp. This appears to hold all the way to shore. Fortunately.
We booms out all the water and cleans up quite well.
It is daylight and good weather
and everything is fine - although the lakes of 6-8 meters and the stiff gale and uncomfortable rolling. It is important to hold on and put sjøbein.
Now what? We have only one option, try to sail down to the Cape Verde
Islands - we have wind and waves from the east-northeast and we shall then due south. To sail towards the Caribbean
(two thousand nautical miles) without a rudder and a boat that might blow leaking further, there is no question. Crossing the headwind and heavy head
sea back to Las Palmas
is just unthinkable - we have no control and we can not go over the rod. So it has to be Cape Verde
: 331 nm away straight south. We have food
and water, wind and good sailing and a good engine
and good batteries, so this fixes we.
At first it went fine. Puts a small genoa
and the small mainsail
(which incidentally has frozen, a spile have disputes and will not loosen), wind from the BB. Trimmer wind helm. The boat sails three to four knots and the course is fairly straight south. The chugging away quite okay actually and spirits are high, even though the scrolling really put us to the test. Do I have hardly rolled so much for so many days.
But - how can one of the market's most robust steel
boats that are known to be really well screwed together, my Motiva 49, losing the rudder with the rudder trunk mount up with big clamp and down through a heavy base plate with welded nuts and, attached, not least , in a very Skeggs? We must find out later.
A sailboat without a rudder live their own life, obviously - at least my Motiva under these conditions. In real terms, we can not steer or stop it. Therefore, the vessel's course difficult to trim. And we turn too far south, all the time. Whether we put more sail or reversed, if we cut the mainsail, if we set the storm jib
with or without a small genoa, if we go for motor
supportive or if we drive anchor
close to the stern or far behind - the boat cuts too much into the wind thereby southeast. The boat can be actually not control. Wind rudder helps a little and drive the anchor
out in the SB the same. We discuss other alternative control methods including the use of spnnakerbommen is the most obvious, but I shelves because it is too dangerous to retrieve the boom from the mast
and carry it astern, and partly because the boom (and / or styretampene) would be able to knock down the wind pipe and spoil this. Then we would be completely out of control. Wave height is around 4-8 meters, but we also see a couple of ten meters. On day two loosened the lower vindrorfestet and hovedbraketten broke, something we nødreparerte but surely weakened the strength of the wind pipe. In order to fasten the air inside the helm again we had to rip out apteringen stern and I even creep into the swim platform inside while Mickey turned outside. A necessary but hazardous operation that I probably should talk to Hydrovane
We are going south to hit Cape Verde - eventually we have to southwest because we run out of more and more. The speed is really quite good, we make steady three to four knots. With the engine running, we can improve the speed, but the drift is even bigger if we trim the sails down, and drive the anchor closer to the boat transom - that is the only good solution, it turns out after hours with different trimming. The engine cuts after fifteen hours of walking. We stand on your head
to get it going in re, but it is futile - the engine is perhaps influenced by the violent rolling the pump might not feed enough and / or we have clogged filters, I do not know. We need to provide the engine because the work down in the engine room is dangerous, but it means nothing because we are sailing better without. The same applies spinnaker boom that stood deadlocked the first few days - I considered it too dangerous to go on the foredeck and take it down, but ultimately there was no prayer. We got it down and up the mast
properly for good planning, despite violent seas.
After three days of straightforward race
we had to make a choice: either continue the voyage south east, crossing the shipping route
and thus end up in Senegal - or take the sails down and drive southwest to Cape Verde. Since we did not really manage to steer the ship, I think it's best to get to land as quickly as possible. Therefore, we leave the ship sails and just drift with the wind and waves - the rate will be better and we are set to meet in the middle of Cape Verde. Something we do afterwards. It would prove to take three days.
Out here there is not a soul but us. We send PAN-PAN four times and did not hear a peep. Think hardly a Mayday would have helped either - if it had to be relevant. Triggered EPIRB
would have initiated things, but it would have taken time. We have two rafts on board and all the rest were ready to leave the ship, there we arranged the 1st December.
Via satellite phone
contacts we both ARC
and our insurance
Topsail and explains in-depth the boat either be controlled or stop, we do not like the idea of running in between the Cape Verde Islands (mass dregs there), we prefer not to drive south and by Cape Verde and now we're heading towards the island of Sao Nicolaou which we will take about a day if we are not able to cross the pass - but in this case we are in the archipelago and / or in the worst case we run through and on down to Mid-Atlantic. So - we need help from a tug. Tomorrow morning we will be closest to the city of Mindelo where there will be a big tug, about 35 nm away.
Now a rejoicing that literally could have taken their toll on us. After countless mails and satelittelefonsamtaler with ARC and Topsail, as I recall
it now with fatigue in mind that it took two days - finally getting the message from the top manager in Topsail, Robert Stephen that it is given the go-ahead to pay and thus book tug. Best we say and celebrate it with a common beer
and guitar (...) in the cockpit
while the wind and sea banks against us. So everything is turned on its head; tugboat company should have paid half in advance before they are sticking to havs.Vi have started negotiations with Topsail again, back and forth for hours through while we run closer and closer to Cape Verde. Downturn, the total when Topsail reports that they can not pay in advance: it is one thing or another that "the underwriters" or "the insurers" do not have enough information to make a decision. Or so the office is closed or they are out playing golf. I still do not know.
Via ARC (I think - not sure pt) we contact Mindelo Marina who is willing to act as our shipping
agent who can then book the tug. It belongs with the rest of the story is that Cape Verde has SAR Rescue
, but the boat (s) are too small to get shipwrecked at sea. Are we being told.
The problem then and there is the money
. Since Topsail not pay anything I have to do it themselves. I emailed the credit card number and card details (including security
code) to Mindelo Marina and say that I guarantee for payment. This says I also Topsail and say that I will send them the bill afterwards - they respond with 'It's so fantastic ..!'. It will be exciting to see what that means in practice.
My credit card is obviously a barrier that makes the company can not deduct the advance amount on the spot; Euro 6500 - only one thousand Euro. But that adds Johanna Mayer-Scheel in Mindelo Marina out of pocket and on our behalf. Quite strongly made. She said afterwards, "I could not let you crash with Sao Nicolaou."
So, end of the story is that the night until 6 December will tug at half one and retrieves us, when we located eight nautical miles from the first island with steep cliffs towards us - and 65 nm from Mindelo west. It is cumbersome to attach a tow in the dark of night in the high seas and at one point we are wrong off because one part of the trailing foot rooster will remain backward and around our keel
. But Lotte resourceful to manage to loose fandenskapen and together manage Mickey, Lotte and I get pulled it back into place while Jan Ludvig keeps VHF
contact with the tug. Fifteen hours later we dragged all the way to Mindelo where we are in strong winds but with many helping hands is now well anchored. We need to build a new rudder, get the boat on land and arrange for insurance
etc etc. What we then do I have no idea. We have long since broken Arcen, it is probably the only one we know.
It is a paradox that the only thing that really helped us in countries Johanna, the thirty year old female German port boss in Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Johanna is the only one who actually understood the gravity of the situation. Her father has otherwise built Cape Verde's only good marina. When she saw that we were heading towards one of the neighboring islands and came closer and closer, she walked resolutely to the airport's single
tugboat company, let the 40,000 dollars on the table of their own money
and ordered the tug away. This we had begged and asked our insurance Topsail and ARC to arrange for more than one day, which only ended in a hell lot of bureaucratic talk via satellite phone
and mails back and forth. While the distance to Mindelo increased from 35 to 65 nm while we got closer to the mountain. To be switchboards and command center for their rescue
in eight-meter sea side and stiff breeze is both surreal and totally pointless.
In retrospect, we would have managed a much better without clutter from ARC and Topsail. Then we had phoned home, secured a direct link to the ship agent and thus got booked tugboat in Mindelo - and spared one day at sea.
We have actually not received help from either ARC or Topsail - both parties are really just destroyed our situation where we actually were in distress
. This will have consequences for both.
BUT a big salute to all aboard - thanks for the good cohesion and good seamanship.