by Colin Merry
This evening, after twenty days, four hours, fifty six minutes and ten seconds at sea the Class 40′ ‘DMS’ skippered by Pete Goss crossed the strange coincidence his position matched the amount of years he had been absent from the single handed race scene. For my part I was proud to one of the team that helped to get him to the start line. I will now break open my bottle of rum and have a few.in ’Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadalupe. It was a tremendous effort by Pete as he hadn’t raced single handed for fourteen years and to do it in the very competitive Class 40′ fleet is further testament to his determination and tenacity! By
More Information from Pete’s Team
Pete Goss completed the 2010 Route du Rhum single-handed Trans-Atlantic race at 16:58 UTC yesterday (20/11/10) after nearly three weeks at sea.
Arriving in Pointe-a-Pitre in an elapsed time of 20 days 4 hours 56 minutes and 10 seconds gave Goss 14th place out of the 44 Class 40 boats that took part.
After being out of single-handed competitive sailing for 14 years Pete said that he was delighted with the result and the boat: “It was always our aim to finish in the top third and as the first Brit home, which we have achieved. I didn’t get as many miles under the keel as I would like before we started, but the boat has been fantastic; we suffered no damage and I really feel at home on her.”
Pete paid testament to Tony Lawson’s Team Concise and especially boat Captain Tom Gall, saying: “Every time I went to do a job he had already been there with a little modification or tweak that makes all the difference. I can honestly say that DMS is the best prepared boat I have ever been on – a brilliant job by someone who in my view will go far.”
Title sponsor Dave Summers of Disc Manufacturing Services said he was delighted to work with Pete who saw at first hand the floating detritus that he and DMS are campaigning to eradicate with their message to ‘Pack it In!’ They hope that the striking message painted on the side of the boat and the unique and colourful urban artwork will have made people think and encourage them to consider reducing plastic packaging, much of which is sadly ending up in the sea. DMS itself is aiming to eliminate all plastic packaging by 2012.
Pete’s other sponsors GAC Pindar, Girlings, CSR and Talisker have joined the huge numbers who have been following Pete’s progress via the tracker on his website and posting messages of support on the site. Pete said the he would like to thank them all for their support, which has not only allowed him to compete, but also spread the serious message of reducing plastic packaging.
Speaking of the winner, Pete said: “I would like to congratulate Thomas Ruyant on Destination Dunkerque for winning the Class 40 division; an outstanding job by a young up and coming sailor who will be one to watch. I look forward to shaking his hand and buying him a beer.”
So what next for the 48-year-old Westcountry sailor and adventurer; does this race signal a return to solo ocean racing? Pete said: “I have had an absolute ball in this race and loved every second of it; I had forgotten how much I enjoy solo ocean sailing. It has been a whirlwind; this whole adventure came out of the blue. Six months ago the good ship DMS was a dusty new hull in a shed, but the whole team have pulled together like one big family and mounted a successful campaign. You don’t do these things on your own and I want to give one final big thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign. So what is next? I honestly don’t know, but for now I am going to have a cup of tea and spend some time with the family before deciding.”
Italian skipper Andrea Mura celebrates upon his arrival at Pointe-a-Pitre in the French West Indies island of Guadeloupe, on his way to win the Route du Rhum trans-Atlantic in the Rhum Class monohull category on his boat Vento di Sardegna.
As Andrea Mura celebrates his win the Class 40 and Rhum Category skippers continue to arrive in Guadeloupe. Pete Goss due in today.
A long, and busy night in Pointe-à-Pitre saw more and more finishers completing the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale, and it is only set to get more hectic when the Class 40 fleet start arriving late Wednesday or Thursday depending on how cruel or kind the winds on the approach to Guadeloupe turn out to be. Notable finishes last night included Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas), the two IMOCA Open 60 skippers who chose the southerly routing option. Desjoyueax arrived in sixth position, just under one day behind fellow Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou (PRB). He joked about going south for the sun early but admitted that there was very little to choose between the two options before making his choice “ I did what I wanted. From time to time you try things when you don’t know if they will be good or not so good. I expected to have 50 miles of deficit in the south of the Azores amticyclone and it was 150. There the mass was said.” Desjoyeaux said. “I have had time to digest this. Now we move on. Life goes on.”
The only IMOCA skipper left at sea, Christoper Pratt on DCNS 1000 – who has been battling with no electrics since last Thursday morning, was due to finish this evening (CET/Paris). Having sailed a very competitive and creditable first half of the race, the young skipper from Marseille, was enjoying a boat-for-boat sprint to the line against Servan Escoffier (Saint Malo 2015), due to finish seventh of seven in the Ultime multihull fleet.
But it is the Class 40 race which has race watchers twitching with anticipation as Thomas Ruyant closes to within 380 miles of the finish on Destination Dunkerque, with a lead now of only 59.8 miles ahead of Nico Troussel (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) who has closed back around 20 miles on the leader over the last two days, but the leading trio – Germany’s Jorg Riecher on Mare.de, are now filing in a line towards the NW corner of the island, all knowing what the possibility of an overnight shut down of the breeze might do.
Britain’s Pete Goss holds 13th position, approaching Guadeloupe from his more southerly routing reported light winds today, and looks set to suffer slightly less wind on his course in to the island, but the Cornish skipper admitted he is delighted with his race so far:
“ In my particular circumstances I was parachuted into the race out of the blue, and jumped on the boat and went. At the start of the race in Saint Malo I had done four days of single-handed sailing in 14 years. I had not really sailed the boat much. The boat is immaculate, I am not criticising the boat, and Tom Gall the boat captain, Tony Lawson and Team Concise have been great, but it is about building a relationship, and as I said then, (at the start) I now feel ready to start the Route du Rhum. If you look beyond this race, then this is effectively a training race. I was a bit rusty at the beginning, but I have a bit of experience and so I did not break anything. I am loving it.”
And Marco Nannini, the London based banker racing UniCredit, who has built a following of thousands for his unmissable blog (marconannini.com), said on today’s radio vacation:
“This for me is about me being an office worker who one week before the race I was sitting behind a desk in the office. I am not a French pro and I did not come here expecting to perform as a French pro. I held my own, especially in the first part of the race and I was very proud of what I was achieving, then of course experience comes in and I made a bad mistake, but here I am, still racing absolutely enjoying every minute of it, in this adventure. I have seen things I have never seen before. I was caught in an electric storm last night, which scared the hell out of me. It is for me a great adventure, and so the blogs, sharing it with others, makes it so much more enjoyable. I receive many, many messages on the boat, reading my blogs – and I am talking thousands and thousands –every time, it is fantastic.”
In what has amounted to a very intense, tactical ninth edition of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, with very many transitions and changes to negotiate Roland Jourdain sailed an impeccable race, consistently choosing a routing for best wind pressure rather than taking unnecessary risks to cut miles. When he had the opportunity he consolidated to manage the fleet, keeping them directly behind him.
In some respects it was a leaders’ race and Jourdain was never out of the top three, at the front for ten of 13 days.
As they worked west after Ushant he chose to tack north later than Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air).
The key move was on the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd when he tacked north in better wind pressure, and by the following afternoon, while both Armel Le Cléac’h erred a little too far south and snared himself in light winds as did Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac 3) Jourdain was ahead, turning a deficit of 3 miles to a lead of 6 miles over that late afternoon.
After that Bilou was never overtaken. He was first to break through the front during Friday 5th and was able to emerge into the fast NE’ly conditions, his reward being a jump out to a 40 miles lead.
Le Cléac’h was first to gybe south on Saturday 6th, Jourdain held on and gained again as lined up to deal with Tomas, the tropical low.
Le Cléach’s early move took him south into less wind.
From here Jourdain has a lead of 55 miles on Thursday 11th when he has some 300 miles to Guadeloupe, and again his routing is spot-on. Le Cléach’s easterly position leaves him in lighter winds.
The leader’s benefit comes when he is into the light SW’ly headwinds, all the time with the fleet now in V formation behind him. And as Veolia Environnement reached the top of Guadeloupe he still had some 74 miles of margin over Brit Air.
Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) quotes: “ The decision to go in the North was not really easy to make. And then there were many transition zones to manage. At that times you needed to be absolutely full on. Bilou did very well in those situations, I believe I did it as well but just after him. He really sailed a perfect race.”
“ I’m happy with this second place. We had a really good season with Brit’Air She was not the newest boat but I knew her very well and I had spent a lot of time with her. We really did great things with this boat. We had a few second places (Vendée Globe, The Transat and now the Route du Rhum but they have all been good. In IMOCA, we will see the level rise again in the next years. Our Transat Jacques Vabre was a bit difficult, that was necessary to bounce back.”
“We had difficult decisions to make at the very beginning of the race. Youneeded to choose that option knowing that it would have consequences forthe 15 next days. When you see Michel and Arnaud both heading South at the time, that certainly gives you a few doubts. “
“ I’m really tired because of the numerous manœuvres required and also the speed to maintain, you need to hold on in those conditions you are on your knees to stack you sails. It’s a bit of a war.
“ I’m happy to have finished. In the first night I discovered I had water on the boat and I had lost one alternator. I had to save energy : shut down the computer, switch off the boat lights at night. I ran short of gazoil since yesterday. It meant I had no way to charge the batteries, I could not cant the keel either. So I am really happy to be here.
” If I have an entry on the Vendée Globe in 2012, I will use this boat but we will have worked on her to make some improvements. We have a few ideas now on how to save some weight, to modify the aft deck layout. Options you can take to increase the performance. To participate in the Vendée Globe that is important
” My best memory is at the start. I was a bit nervous, that’s usually the case when you start this kind of race and, as I was sailing by the Pointe du Groin, I realized how many people were standing there and watching us sail away. It was quite emotional and I felt very small.
Guillemot swoops for third place on the IMOCA Podium Marc Guillemot staged a podium raid within the last 60 miles of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale transatlantic race stealing third place on the west coast of Guadeloupe when he sailed round the unfortunate long term tenant Jean-Pierre Dick whose Virbac-Paprec 3 was moving at less than half the pace that the IMOCA world champion was making, Arriving out of the north on Safran, having passed close to the east of Montserrat. Guillemot admitted his surprise at seeing the blue branded sails of Virbac-Paprec appear to his left, and when they were just over a mile apart he gybed away because Dick was clearly in a different wind, closer in to the island shore. Safran scarcely missed a beat and went on to passed the Basse Terre mark two and a half hours ahead of Dick
Guillemot, winner of last autumn’s Transat Jacques Vabre race to Costa Rica, paid tribute to both Roland Jourdain and Armel Le Cléac’h who respectively take the top two steps on the podium. But only two days ago Guillemot was back in fifth, behind Vincent Riou (PRB). Indeed on the 0800hrs ranking Sunday he was 28 miles behind deck, and as they converged at the Tête à l’Anglais at the top of the NW corner of the island, Guillemot was still some 20 miles behind.
The Safran solo skipper once more underlined how close the IMOCA Class is, not only highlighting that the races sailed by Jourdain and Le Cléac’h, but how little mistakes or breakdowns escalate to become significant deficits. In the early part of the race Guillemot was compromised by a problem with the halyard hook on his Solent, and also lost a spinnaker overboard.
Racing in his fourth Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale, Guillemot finished second overall in 2002 on Biscuits La Trinitaine, when only three multihulls finished.
Breaking the finish line off Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe at 01hrs 30mins 02secs today (Monday, CET/Paris) (Monday 00 hrs 30mins 02secs GMT/ Monday 20hrs 30mins 02secs local time (CET -4hrs)) Marc Guillemot on the IMOCA 60 Safran took third place in the IMOCA Class in the 9th Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale solo Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France at 1302hrs (CET) Sunday 31st October.
The elapsed time for Safran is 14 days 12hours 28minutes 02seconds
His average speed is 11.55kts for the distance he sailed of 3955 miles.
Over the theoretical course distance of 3539 miles Marc Guillemot’s average speed is 10.16knots
Guillemot finished 19hrs 17mins 06 secs after IMOCA Open 60 winner Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement
Jean-Pierre Dick finished this morning at 04h 13m 13s 9 (CET) taking fourth place, disappointed to have lost out to Marc Guillemot for third, but the Barcelona Race winner suffered with electrical problems the whole way, his battery system failing. His dockside de-brief suggests he feels he should have taken more time to re-assess and not be too head down in the problems, easy to say at this stage no doubt, but clearly he has some work to do on Virbac-Paprec 3, with only limited lead time to the Barcelona start and the boat on delivery by ship. Here is a short summary of what he had to say:
” We need to work on the boat so that don’t I spend my time head down trying to solve problems. The race was really physical and full on for me and I could not even take time to do other things besides what I was having to deal with, far less or think about me, to try to manage myself.
I’ve always been full on, so trying to manage my race and the problems that were happening all the time was not good for me . But overall I believe that I sailed the majority of the race in the top rankings which I am reasonably satisfied with. I have a few problems to sort out to control the boat when reaching. I need to work it out. I won’t even mention the batteries! Even only today they cut our four or five times.
But the basics of it are good. We have some time to tune the boat for the Barcelona World Race and then hopefully the boat and I for the Vendee Globe, that will be the important one for this boat.
Around the island Marco’s choices were impressive. For me I did not press the pedal at the right moment. I was expecting a different wind system. And that is frustrating, disappointing. But every setback allows you to make progress.
My knowledge of the island has improved a lot for the next Route du Rhum!
Crossing the finish line at 06h31m04s (CET/Paris(05h31m04s GMT) Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) took sixth place in the IMOCA Open 60 class, some 2d 00h 18m 08s after class winner Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement). The southern routing, one which also cost him dearly a year ago in the Transat Jacques Vabre, worked for the Ultimate class but this time it clearly did not work for the double Vendée Globe winner with his new VPLP/Verdier design. Desjoyeaux has had time to analyse his result and the way forwards, making ready for the Barcelona World Race which starts 31st December. “It would have been good if they had left us some wind for the finish because in the end it was bit too long at the end. Everyone says it’s a good trick to head off to the sun, but I went too early. We had looked at it and there were good chances of passing over the top, but it was on the Monday morning I took the decision. That was the best routing on the morning, I was on a good shift on the left with Kito and I wanted a trip to the south, I had wanted to go there for a while. I did what I wanted. From time to time you try things when you don’t know if they will be good or not so good. I expected to have 50 miles of deficit in the south of the Azores amticyclone and it was 150. There the mass was said.
I had the toolbox open once for a small allen key to tighten a small screw on the rudder, but I have a list of things to be improved. Speed-wise when you are on your own you are a world champion. The boat is good it was just important to learn how to put it in the right place. I wanted to go to the sun, I went to the sun.”
“He is a great winner. He is a double winner, and what more can you say? He positioned himself, always attacked, he sailed super good. He did not hesitate to push when he needed to and cover the fleet when he needed to. He did the whole race without any technical hitches and that allowed him to focus on his route and to make a beautiful race, more especially because there was a race. I have had time to digest this, now we move on. Life goes on. This is a beautiful boat, and I sufficiently happy with what I saw. We will turn the page.”
When he brought the giant 31m trimaran Groupama 3 across the finish line off Pointe-a-Piitre, Guadeloupe today (Tuesday)under perfect sunshine and light breezes Franck Cammas (FRA) won the 9th edition of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale, the 3542 miles transatlantic race from Saint Malo for solo skippers which takes place every four years. Cammas crossed the finish line at 16..h 16..min 47. Secs (CET paris// 15h 16 mins 47 secs GMT,// 11 hrs 16 mins 47 seconds local time) The elapsed time for the course, after starting Saint Malo at 1302hr (CET/paris) Is. 9 days 3 hours 14 mins 47 seconds The average speed over the course on the water was. 20..39 knots for the actual course sailed of 4471 miles. . The course record of 7 days17 hrs 19 mins 6 seconds was set in 2006 Cammas adds his name to the legend of the ‘Rhum’ as successor to Mike Birch, Marc Pajot, Philippe Poupon, Florence Arthaud, Laurent Bourgnon, Michel Desjoyeaux and Lionel Lemonchois
Normally, during this time of year, the tradewinds are generally nice and steady, yet it has to be said that this doesn’t appear to be the case for the competitors in the Ultimate Class competing in the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale.
Positioned 300 miles to the North of Groupama 3, Thomas Coville’s Sodebo is enjoying stronger wind from a better direction to maintain a high average speed. In this way, the skipper has been able to make up 86 miles on the leader over the past 24 hours.
Similarly, Francis Joyon, who is positioned to the East of Groupama 3, has made up 60 miles of his deficit, whilst Yann Guichard has lost around a hundred miles.
On the Atlantic race zone then, things aren’t exactly sticking to the usual routine. Variable both in terms of strength and direction, the wind is imposing a fast physical rhythm on the sailors, who not only have to keep watch for sudden surges of breeze to avoid capsizing, but also wind holes, so as they don’t lose ground on their rivals by keeping an unsuitable sail configuration up for too long.
To spice things up a bit, you have no prior warning about how long this phase will last: you think it’s going to last a good while so you manoeuvre by hoisting or reducing the sail area. Lots of physical effort is involved at that point, as well as a drop in speed as you perform the manoeuvres. If your forecast proves to be right then it’s BINGO. There you are carrying the correct sail configuration, happy with the efforts you’ve made to get where you are. Where the opposite is true, it’s hell. You’re stuck fast or forced to go up on deck to avoid the risk of capsizing.
Such is the life of the multihull skipper, who only sleeps in 20 minute chunks.
Suffice to say that as the skippers begin to tackle the sixth day at sea, just 1,338 miles from the finish, the fatigue must be seriously beginning to make its presence felt. There’s no question of easing off the pace though: you have to earn a Rhum!
Positions at 1500 hours on Friday 5th November
1/ Groupama 3 some 1,338 miles from the finish
2/ Sodebo 260.6 miles from the leader
3/ Idec 309.4 miles astern
4/ Gitana 11 some 453 miles astern
5/ La Boite à Pizza 905.2 miles astern
In an interview with Sam Davies the French skipper explains how his 100ft trimaran Oman Air Majan broke up.
After a long night for the Oman Air Majan team, they are pleased to report that skipper Sidney Gavignet is now safely onboard the bulk carrier Kavo Alexander. The incident which occurred at 16:35 CET yesterday (3 November) was dealt with swiftly by the shore team, race management, rescue teams and crew of the Kavo Alexander who ensured Sidney’s rescue within four hours or his first call. (Read previous story here.)
Kavo Alexander is en route to Turkey, and it is not confirmed if Sidney will be dropped off in Gibraltar or Malta with an approximate ETA between the 6 and 9 November respectively. The Oman Air Majan technical team drove through the night from the base in Lorient to Paris to board a flight to the Azores early this morning (4 November). They are due to arrive in Horta this afternoon. A boat is on standby and ready to leave with the team to take them to Oman Air Majan, which is still being tracked by the team, and is approximately 250 miles north east of the Azores.
The technical team are monitoring the weather, conditions are good and the forecast looks set to improve over the next 24-36 hours. It will take approx 24-hours for the technical team to reach Oman Air Majan by boat, during that time they will be preparing a plan to recover as much of the boat as possible. At this time the team believe that all parts of the boat are still together and they will aim to tow Oman Air Majan back to the Azores.
Transcribe of an audio call with Sidney onboard bulk carrier Kavo Alexander 22:00 CET (3 November):
Sam Davies: Can you explain the conditions you were in and what happened?
Sidney Gavignet: I was going upwind, at 70 true wind angle and I had two reefs, and a J2. I was ready with the J3, the wind was increasing and planned to increase a little bit. But I thought it was still safe handling for the boat.
It was daylight, I was well rested, well fed. Everything was fine, I thought nothing was damaged on the boat at that time so far it was a good race on that side. After we jumped over a wave, probably a little harder than others, I heard a crack and I thought it was the daggerboard even if the top of it was higher than deck level which is quite far up*. Then I came out and looked around and I saw on the front leeward crossbeam probably 1m away from the float the crossbeam was broken. Then it went very very quick, in probably 2 to 3 seconds I was easing the traveller and the float came out of the crossbeam I think it was still linked at that time with the aft crossbeam. But because the front was not linked to the float the boat capsized almost, the mast was horizontal and platform vertical.
I was pretty disorientated at that time but the damage was done so my first concern was to find my survival suit, liferaft and grab bag, which I found very quickly. I then realized in fact there was no massive panic as I had a feeling very quickly that the boat would stay afloat, and was safe in the boat. Which was my first concern in the beginning. I put the survival suit on and I called Race Director Jean Maurel. I didn’t reach him so left a message and then I called Seb Chernier from Oman Sail to explain the situation, I told him I would put the eprib on.
(*The daggerboard was not fully down. Sidney judges the level of the board by comparing the top of the board with the deck level.)
SD: What was your immediate reaction when this happened?
SG: When your boat breaks you realise it’s very serious, but about my life no, I reacted quickly to look for my survival suit. The safety de-brief we had before leaving in St.Malo was fresh in my mind so that was an important de-brief. I don’t think I was scared for my life. I was in some sort of control and I didn’t have any fear. My first concern was that the boat was totally broken and I needed to find a way to tell the family without making them too scared. They realised quickly it was safe, so that was a good thing.
SD: It is pretty hard to help the boat in that situation, did you attempt to try amd secure anything on the boat?
SG: I thought about it, but at the beginning I didn’t want to go out of the companion way too much, because there were cables moving around the exit, and the shrouds were just in front of the doors I thought it was a bit dangerous and I wanted to look at situation a little more before going outside. I was thinking about cutting the rig to let go of the mast, which was probably a good solution because I don’t think it is composite sandwich and would therefore sink. The problem is that you need to cut many, many cables and some were attached to the free float (which was separate from the float), that was pretty difficult because on the leeward side you have the broken mast and float so I think it was too dangerous to try that.
SD: Can you describe the next part of the rescue?
SG: Not long after a call to Jean Maurel race director, who said he would call the COSS (French organization for safety at sea), they called my iridium phone which was still working. After a few tries I managed to give them a position. Not long after I had a call from the Portuguese rescue organization who asked if I was ready to leave the boat. My first answer was yes, but after they asked me the question I was a bit concerned. I said yes, but then I thought is this really the right thing to do? I thought about it a bit more, I think it was the correct decision as there was nothing more I could on the boat. Before leaving to make sure we could track the boat (Oman Air Majan) I activated a spare tracker and an Argos beacon which is also giving a signal for the boat at the moment. I had to take the rescue beacon off the boat to make sure that the world knows the rescue operation is complete.
SD: What happens next?
SG: The boat is coming from Canada and going to Turkey, they don’t know if we will stop in Gibraltar or Malta in order for them to re-fuel. We are doing 13 knots towards Gibraltar at the moment. But for them it’s a risky situation and the people were great, they risked their life for me, especially when we had to climb in the small rescue boat when they came to pick me up. I’m not feeling very proud to have put them in that situation and I would like to thank them for all their help. Here on the ship I am very welcome but I can see that life continues for them.
SD: Can you briefly described the state of Oman Air Majan when you left her?
SG: Just before I left the boat the platform was vertical and the mast horizontal. Not long after that the mast was still in one piece but not long after the mast broke. As the mast broke the platform came back almost horizontal between 15-20 degrees. In fact it came back completely horizontal just between the port float and main hull, and the reason for that is that starboard float came totally loose, it was still partially attached by the aft cross beam, and then it finally broke. I thought it was a good thing but in fact I don’t think it is because that float came underneath the starboard crossbeam and I think now it is a free float which is hitting the main hull so I don’t know which one will resist but I don’t think it is good that the two pieces are hitting each other, and the mast is still attached of course.
SD: When do think you will arrive?
SG: It is not very clear. They have an ETA of the sixth but I think you can probably see we’re doing 13 knots and we are north of the Azores so you can probably calculate that. For me they still do their watch system and I didn’t have time to speak much with them. I try to be as discreet as possible to make the captain and those people accept me.
SD: How are you, were you injured?
SG: No, not at all. I have no injury from the crash. How do I feel? I don’t know, I feel very weird.
David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail, commented: “Sidney Gavignet is a strong man, a hugely focused racer, a man of the sea who had a phenomenal start to the Route du Rhum 2010. I’m astonished at how well Sidney dealt with this scenario, he did everything right which meant we didn’t have to ask another competitor to divert. Dressed in his survival suit, mast wrecked, starboard float disconnected from the front of the boat, potentially sinking he asked me formally for permission to abandon ship.
Like Formula 1 it is a mechanical sport, Sidney was totally focused in racing mode. We have no idea what caused the failure, our capable team are on the way to the boat as we speak, and we hope that they will be able to recover the boat. Yes, of course we’re hugely disappointed about the breakage. Oman Sail and Oman Air worked incredibly hard with this part of the project, however Sidney is unhurt and safe and this is what really matters. We are inspiring the Omani nation to sail and with that come inherent risks – ones we will also make in the future.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Oman Air our fully supportive sponsor, Jean Maurel the race director and his team at Pen Duick for thier assistance. The captain of KAVO Alexander and his crew, my extremely capable response team, and of course Sidney for his phenomenal performance.”
In this hotly contested fleet where past race honours are shared almost equally through the fleet, it is still Armel Le Cléac’h, the Jackal, who has managed to maintain the lead of the nine boat class for a full 24 hours.
On his southerly option, passing off Lisbon today, after being slowed by calms straying too close to the edge of the high last night Michel Desjoyeaux, had to gybe to the SE to escape but has gybed back to course now and is quickest in the fleet, regaining seven miles on the leaders since this morning.
His deviation cost eighth too Arnaud Boissières. Desjoyeaux is ninth still with a deficit of 169 miles on Brit Air.
Marc Guillemot said this morning that he hopes to repair the hook on the head of his solent jib which has been his problem virtually since the start of the race on Safran.
There was bit of a fright for Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) during the night when he awoke with a start with his radar alarm going off. Incredibly he was on collision course with sister-ship Safran with skipper Guillemot asleep. De Pavant reacted quickly and passed 50 metres behind his rival, the winner of last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre.
Speaking on the radio vacs this morning Safran’s Guillemot was unaware he had passed so close to his friend and rival.
Guillemot did reveal what his technical issue has been. There is a problem with the hook which locks the head of the Solent to the mast and so he has been unable to use this key sail, instead sailing under staysail. But he hopes to be able to fix this today and resume full power.