Two rig failures put Francis Joyon's round the world receord attempt in danger of collapsing last night. One was the failure of the main sail halyard which last night forced the skipper of IDEC in a perilous ascent in the mast in difficult sea conditions.
There he discovered more rig damage - at the top of the mast he discovered a much more serious problem with the starboard shroud anchor. This cable that holds the mast sideways is fixed to the spar by a pin. And this had started to unscrew and was coming out of the mast fixing which would cause the mast to break.
Joyon therefore had to climb the mast again to try to secure the shroud and replace the axle. Meanwhile he had to considerably reduce the pace of the trimaran, sailing under staysail and three reefs to reduce the strain on the mast - the risk is obviously the dismasting of the boat.
With more than 22,800 miles to the clock, driven at high speed, IDEC is showing some signs of fatigue. Also during the climbs Joyon suffered an ankle injury and decided as a first step to rest and wait for the wind to steady northeast calm some Sea shortly:
'I am wounded in the ankle during my second climb as the boat was moving,' he says. 'I will take time to recover and to discuss a solution.'
'I will try to move forward in the best possible way on the road for the time being,' said Joyon visibly tired. 'I am always close to 18 knots but I can not go fast given the configuration of sails intended to preserve the mast.' Difficult repair
With the cross sea and only a few normal tools, Francis has managed to drag the gennaker halyard to position it in case the shroud comes out of the fixing on the mast. This might retain or slow the possible collapse the carbon spar. The sea conditions preventing him from going further in its repair.
The skipper of IDEC was in communication with his team on shore, as well as designers of the mast to consider the possibility of halting the removal of this pin and identify the best possible risk involved.