Last evening at 1845 the crew of the Black Pearl noticed cracks in the area of it keel support structure. Water was coming into the boat from those cracks and still is. The rate of water flow is manageable at this time.
Sail was immediately reduced. Photos and video of the cracks were recorded and sent to the designer of the boat.
Several hours were spent discussing this issue with the designers of the boat. A certain level of comfort was achieved and we proceeded, with reduced sail, east at 12 knots through the night.
This morning we have reviewed the drawings of how this area was designed. It is not clear to us if this is structural damage or superficial. The fact that water is coming into the boat is not reassuring. We have a made a new video and photos in the daylight, and sent them off to the designers.
We have run tests with 0, 20 and 40 degrees of cant while inspecting the area. 40 degrees is definitely alarming. The cracks open and close as the loads change and the water flow is more and less accordingly. 20 degrees seems tolerable.
It is not clear to us, and probably will never be clear to us or anyone, how serious this damage is until we reach land. We simply can’t properly inspect the area out here.
On the weather side, the best winds to help us make the progress toward Australia are during the next 30 hours. We currently have winds from the northwest. Eventually, we will fall “off the back” of this system and be hit with less favorable winds from southeast. There is danger in being out here for long time.
Therefore, considering all of the above, I have decided to run the boat up to 80% of full speed at this time, with a maximum of 20 degree of cant, to make as much progress as reasonably possible in these conditions.
Naturally we are taking all precautions necessary for any eventuality.
In general, all is well and stable onboard the Black Pearl.
Paul Cayard – skipper