Dee Caffari and Aviva have been dealt a cruel blow in the final stages of the Transat Ecover B to B race, at around 0600hrs UTC, Aviva lost her mast in over 45 knots of wind.
Caffari is safe and unhurt onboard and has spent the last 2 hours cutting the rig free from the boat to avoid any damage to the hull.
The incident happened about 160 miles off Cape Finisterre in Northern Spain. Caffari is now drifting west at about 2 knots and is in regular contact with her shore team who are arranging a tow into Northern Spain this morning.
Rounding the tip of Spain to enter the Bay of Biscay and complete her first single-handed transatlantic race aboard an Imoca monohull, Dee Caffari saw her mast collapse at around 0600 UTC this morning. The SE’ly wind was dishing out 45 knots of breeze at the time in big seas resulting from a depression settling between the Azores and the Iberian peninsula.
After two hours, the British sailor managed to clear the deck of pieces of the mast which could have punctured the hull and then alerted her shore crew. Aviva had been making 9 knots of boat speed on a direct course towards the finish in Por la Forêt, just 250 miles away.
This Wednesday morning, Dee Caffari didn’t have much of an opportunity to make port rapidly as the boat could not be manoeuvred and was drifting at two knots.
Difficult to set up an effective jury rig on her own, it has been decided that a tow will be organised to the Spanish port of La Coruña, 160 miles to the SE of her current position. The problem here lies in the fact that there is still a lot of wind in this part of the Bay of Biscay and it isn't set to abate until Thursday morning...
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10:52 AM Wed 19 Dec 2007 GMT
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