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Polar Circumnavigator Blow - Split Mast Damage

by Louise Flanagan on 5 May 2006
Adrian Flanagan and Barrabas . .
Only days away from Hawaii and what will be his first sight of land in weeks, Adrian Flanagan has suffered a serious blow to his Alpha Global Expedition. In the early hours of this morning he contacted his shore team to report 'a strange twanging sound from the mast.'

Upon inspection he noticed that 'the shrouds that support the mast had become looser and the mast top was very off centre...'. Adrian proceeded to climb the mast to take a closer look and discovered two critical damage points. The spreaders are coming away from the mast and need rewelding but most importantly the through bolt that supports the shrouds has ripped through the stainless steel mast tube.

There is no way this can be fixed at sea properly, especially with so many thousands of miles still ahead. What was already set up as a swift supply drop in Hawaii has now become a race against time to lift out the mast and effect repairs. As such Adrian will be stepping ashore for the first time in over 6 months. Research has shown that Adrian is very likely to be the first person to ever sail from UK to Hawaii alone, non-stop and westabout via Cape Horn. Adrian's yacht, Barrabas, has endured remarkably well so far. Although such damage is potentially catastrophic it is not enough to stop Adrian from fulfilling his ultimate goal.

Presently sailing in calm conditions, he has been forced to reduce sail and relieve the mast of as many stresses as possible. This will delay his arrival in Honolulu to at least the 10th of May. Local sailors and Waikiki Yacht Club members are already rallying to sort out all the necessary logistics so that the turn around is done quickly as possible.

Adrian still has to sail to his antipodal point on the globe, south east of Japan, before heading north to the Bering Straits. Global weather patterns do not wait for sailors and so the less time Adrian spends in Hawaii the better.


Read this story and the background on the Alpha Global Expedition Website

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