Dongfeng Race Team lost the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race early on Saturday after the boat hit an unidentified object and broke their rudder.
They lost the lead but replaced the decimated part and they were soon back sailing at 20 knots.
The problem enabled Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to take the lead but the rest of the fleet were still hot on their heels.
The Chinese team’s problems began at 0210 UTC when a ‘violent impact’ hit the boat.
Dongfeng’s onboard reporter Yann Riou picks up the story: “We had two options, installing the emergency rudder or removing what was left of the old rudder and putting the new one in place. We decided to go for the second option.
“Thomas (Rouxel) put the diving suit on. He jumped into the water… removed what was left from the old rudder (not much) and we put the new one in place.
“We are all disappointed… it does not look very fair but there’s nothing to do about this.”
It has not been plain sailing for Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi crew either. They reported narrowly missing a net yesterday afternoon but the winds were so light that they were able to take avoiding action.
Team Brunel and Team SCA were not so lucky and were held up briefly after debris caught in their keels.
The Dutch boat even had to send a swimmer into the water to dive down to remove a strip of rubber from their keel.
The women’s team also showed an irregular track and reported running into a fishing net, leading to more lost time behind the rest of the fleet who are now some 50 miles ahead of them.
The seven-strong fleet were expected to arrive in Cape Town in the first leg from Alicante at the beginning of November but their estimated arrival may be delayed after light winds in the Atlantic held up their progress.