Gamsea dismasted

Mike Golding onboard Gamesa
Gamesa Sailing Team
Mike Golding's boat Gamesa has dismasted.

No one was injured in the incident but Golding and his Gamesa sailing team will now have to engage in a difficult race against time in order to limit serious delays in their 2012-2013 Vendée Globe preparation.

It was supposed to be a simple training session allowing Mike Golding to get even more familiar with Gamesa, the boat on which the British skipper will compete in the next Vendée Globe, the fourth in his career. Also on board were Boat Captain Graham Tourell and Mike Ferguson, in charge of preparation. But as the boat was sailing in twelve knots of wind on Wednesday off Thorness Bay (Isle of Wight), it lost its mast at 3.40PM, following what is apparently a Furling gear failure.

There are two good news: none of the three men were injured in the accident and the mast has remained in one piece, which means the situation seems to be less complex than if it had broken into several pieces. Golding, Tourell and Ferguson managed to recover the mast to the deck and Gamesa was towed to Ocean village in Southampton, where Mike Golding is based. It was a very tricky towing operation that had to be done at the speed of five knots - about nine km/h – to make sure the mast did not undergo further damage.

After Jérémie Beyou’s Maître CoQ, Gamesa is the second boat to dismast while preparing for the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe. Future Vendee Globe skipper Arnaud Boissières had also lost his mast while competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre on Akéna Vérandas last December. For both yachts, the solution of building a brand new mast was chosen by the sailing teams. Maître CoQ’s is still under construction.

It is now up to Mike Golding and the Gamesa sailing team to decide what they want to do after a thorough examination of the monohull and its damaged mast.