This damage on Translated9. Will they be able to repair them in time and get going again?

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skeg translated9
The rock arrow indicates the skeg to which the rudder blade is attached on the Swan 65 Translated9. The skeg is one of the weaknesses of boats that adopt it because of the torsion loads it is subjected to and the constraint of being thin to have more hydrodynamic efficiency.

It is a race against time for Translated9. The Italian Swan 65 team is trying hard to repair damage to the hull and rudder caused by a storm with 7-meter waves after rounding Cape Horn. This is to re-enter the Ocean Globe Race, the crewed round-the-world race without electronics and in “vintage” boats on the 1973/74 Whitbread route devised by Don McIntyre.

Translated9
Translated9

The boat was making the third leg (Auckland-Punta del Este) when it started taking on water from the rudder area and had to repair to the Falkland-Malvinas. Here, the boat was winged because the damage was not found to be repairable by the crew. Because the Ocean Globe Race rules prevent receiving outside help, Translated had to withdraw from the third leg, losing its lead in the standings.

The race against time

All is not lost, but now the problem to be solved is only one. To be ready to leave for the fourth and final stage, the one from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Southampton: the start is scheduled for March 5, but it is not so easy. “We had a crack on the skeg and a delamination of the various reinforcements in the rudder area, with some water entry” we are told by the crew. “The time frame for repair is very tight“.

Look at the damage on board Translated9

Not least because Translated9, in order to report for departure, will have to travel the 1,000 miles from the Falkland-Malvinas to Punta del Este, which, if we assume Translated9 travels at an average of 8 knots, will require about five days of sailing.

Nico Malingri, one of the team members, grappling with repairs on Translated9 in the Falklands

The “fault” of the skeg

The skeg (i.e., the hull extension that supports the rudder blade to which it is attached), which was very common on boats of the 1970s, actually proved to be one of the weak points of these boats because it was subjected to very high torsions (a criticality increased by the fact that its profile must be thin and hydrodynamically efficient). There are indeed other Swan 65s whose system has been replaced by the hanging rudder, but the stringent Ocean Globe Race Rules (which states in 5.1.3 that “the underwater profile, including the rudder blade, must be original. Any refits must be faithful to the original design“) prevents it to preserve the purest and most romantic spirit of adventure.

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