Sylvie Viant, Race Director of the Barcelona World Race, has been notified by skipper Jérémie Beyou onboard the fourth-placed IMOCA 60 Delta Dore that his boat has been dismasted. Both he and co-skipper Sidney Gavignet are unhurt and safe onboard and the boat itself is structurally intact.
Jérémie contacted the Race Direction team by Iridium satellite phone at 0120 GMT (11 December) just minutes after the incident: 'We have just been dismasted, we have wind from 300°, 25 knots increasing to 35 knots sometimes, and waves not too bad at about 4 metres. We were sailing with one reef in the mainsail and staysail (small headsail). The mast seems to have fallen backwards.'
Just under an hour later Jérémie reported: 'We had to quickly cut the mast and boom away in to the water because it they were becoming dangerous and was going to start damaging the hull. The boat is okay, the deck is okay, only there are no more lifelines. And we have nothing big to use to make a jury rig for now.'
The boat's position at the time of dismasting was 47°00 S 033° 25 E, nearly a thousand miles south east from South Africa, drifting slowly at between 1 and 2 knots east. The reason for the dismasting is unknown at this time.
The Race Direction Team is in regular contact with the two French sailors Jérémie Beyou and Sidney Gavignet and their shore team headed up by Gilles Chiorri. The skippers have 188 litres of diesel onboard, which will provide approximately 60 hours of motoring, the equivalent of approximately 240 miles. The team are also already studying the options of a jury rig using spare mainsail battens onboard.
Nearest land to their current position:
Edward Islands 175 nautical miles to the east (uninhabited)
Crozet Island 685 miles to the east (uninhabited)
Port Elisabeth (South Africa) 850 miles to the north west
Perth (Australia) 3700 miles to the east
The Maritime safety organisation, MRCC Cape Town, has been informed, however the skippers have not requested any outside assistance at this time.
The weather forecast until midnight on 12/12/07 is WSW 25 knots and decreasing to W 15 knots, and fortunately there are no big Southern Ocean depressions bearing down on them at the moment. If they can make their way north they may be able to benefit from some southerly winds to help them back to land.
'These professional skippers always know that there is a risk involved in ocean racing of any kind. Indeed, in any sport where the boundaries are being pushed. This does not lessen the immense disappointment that Jérémie and Sidney must be experiencing and everyone from the race organisation shares in their disappointment and wishes the skippers a safe passage to land,' said Andor Serra, Director General of the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona, co-organisers of the Barcelona World Race.
Mark Turner, CEO of OC Events, co-organisers of the Barcelona World Race added: 'It's easy to become complacent about sailing around the world, but the last few days during which we have seen PRB lose the top 3 meters of their mast and Estrella Damm suffer severe damage to their rudder are a strong reminder just how hard it is to race at this kind of pace, on these 60-foot racing machines, racing around the planet non-stop. Nearly 10,000 miles in, and the damage toll is mounting. Ocean racing competition at this level has many human performance factors, but it remains nonetheless a mechanical sport.
The adage 'that to win you must first finish' has never been more true. This is a cruel fate though for this well prepared team that was working so well together onboard, and sailing prudently by their own admission. Also, just as Jérémie was getting his first taste of the Southern Ocean, an ocean he will now have to wait until the 2008 solo Vendée Globe in a year's time to revisit.'
A call with the boat will be planned as soon as is practical.
For latest information go to http://www.barcelonaworldrace.org