Nova Scotia

Solo N.S. sailor struggles in south Atlantic

A Nova Scotian sailor racing solo around the world has run into trouble off the coast of Brazil.
Derek Hatfield said the heat is terrible on the South Atlantic Ocean.

A Nova Scotian sailor racing solo around the world has run into trouble off the coast of Brazil.

Derek Hatfield of Mahone Bay is currently third overall in the Velux 5 Oceans competition, but a section of his boat, Spirit of Canada, has flooded.

CBC News reached Hatfield via satellite phone just north of Rio de Janeiro Sunday. He said he hit a patch of rough weather last week and a tank on his boat took on more than 200 gallons of seawater.

"One of the ballast tank's supply valves burst in a compartment and flooded that compartment," he said.  

"Initially I thought I was going to have to stop off in Brazil and lift the boat out of the water and resolve the problem, but I'm carrying on with the race and pumping the water out every day."

Pumping water

He said he'll continue pumping out the water for the next two and a half weeks until he reaches Charleston, S.C. the end of the fourth leg. He'll be able to fix the problem there before beginning the final leg back to the race's starting point in France.

As he approaches the equator, Hatfield is also battling tremendous heat.

"It's like a desert here. When the sun shines through the windows it's easily 100 degrees in the boat. The trick is to try and find some shade outside or in the cockpit or under the sail so you're not sitting in the blazing sun," he said.

It is the third time Hatfield, a former RCMP officer, has raced solo around the globe. 

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