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Allan Brink (left) and Glenn Drewry helping out with Christophe's rudders

AFTER an amazing effort by a team of volunteers on the dock in Cape Town working to fix his yacht Five Oceans of Smiles too, Belgian ocean racer Christophe Bullens is set to restart sprint two of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The 49-year-old was forced to head back to Cape Town on Friday with rudder problems, just over 24 hours after starting the 7,500 nautical mile sprint to New Zealand.

On his return yesterday to the South African port, the second of the five VELUX 5 OCEANS hostports, a team of local volunteers jumped into action to help prepare Christophe’s Eco 60 yacht for the gruelling second leg which takes the fleet through the mighty Southern Ocean. The yacht’s twin rudders were removed countless times by the tireless helpers trying to sort problems with their alignment.

One of the volunteers was Cape Town marine engineer Allan Brink who has given his time generously since Christophe arrived in Cape Town early in December. Allan and his wife own the yacht Voortrekker II which did the BOC Challenge (the forerunner to the VELUX 5 OCEANS) in 1986 as Tuna Marine with South African solo sailor John Martin. Also helping out was Glenn Drewry, a fitter, turner and tool maker, along with Cape Town harbour master Steven Bentley and his crew Chris Roux.

Christophe is due to go for a test sail this morning where he will calibrate his autopilots. Then if all is well he will head off to join the rest of the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet en route to New Zealand. Christophe will face a south easterly breeze blowing around 30 knots when he restarts. The rest of the ocean racers are currently stuck trying to fight through a high pressure system blocking their route to the prevailing westerlies they need to send them to Wellington.

For up-to -date information on the interesting weather the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet are encountering at the moment, click HERE.