Tumbling Down - Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
The double-handed, nonstop Barcelona World Race (BWR) has seen another rig fail, this time aboard Mirabaud, Dominque Wavre and Michèle Paret's Imoca 60 this past Saturday. According to reports, the rig came down as the duo was beating into stiff headwinds and fighting a seaway. 'When it happened we had the seas coming from ahead and we were slamming, the boat making about 10 knots,' reported Wavre. 'We heard a crack. We saw the port side spreader at the third level collapse and then everything went very quickly. We could do nothing as the top [20 feet] of the mast fell.
We fought for a good time to secure the remainder of the mast and tried to cut the sails free to set the two parts of the mast free from each other. But the top section of the mast hit the spreaders, smashed them and the whole remaining section became unstable. So we had to cut the shrouds and let it go. The deck is not damaged, the boat is watertight and that's important. Now the priority is to ride out the depression. We don't know how we will get to the Argentine coast, we don't have much diesel and so we might need to rely on our own resources to get there.' Fortunitly, both Wavre and Paret are reported to be uninjured and are using their boom as a jury-rigged mast. Currently, the duo is roughly 650 miles west of Argentina.
Upfront in the BWR, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron (Virbac-Paprec 3) have roughly a 370-mile lead over Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez aboard Mapfre. Further astern, the fight is especially vicious between Neutrogena to Estrella Damm — look for this battle to continue to heat up as the week continues.
And sadly, Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Audigane (Group Bel) have made the decision to retire from the BWR after discovering that the damage to their keel and hull is more extensive than they had previously imagined. 'Our round-the-world ends at the far end of the world,' said De Pavant, 'an unfortunate end after two months of racing, three oceans crossed and the rounding of three capes. This difficult decision was made with the support of Bel Group, which puts the safety of its men first.' The team plans to send their Imoca 60 back to France for repairs with the intention of racing her again this summer; they are currently the third boat to drop out of this edition of the BWR.
Speed freaks will want to check out our video coverage and extensive image galleries from the final day of racing at the 18-Foot Skiff World Championships, which just concluded in Sydney, Australia over the weekend. Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage of the Gotta Love It 7 crew won the crown, with Americans Howie Hamlin, Fritz Lanzinger and Paul Allen (CST Composites) finishing in fifth place. More inside.
And finally, here in the Pacific Northwest, our local fleet 'enjoyed' a wet and fairly cold Possession Point race. This 26-mile there-and-back-again sprint was striking in that it was the only winter race (this year) that your editor had the pleasure of being sodden and cold for the entire race. Yet aboard John McPhail's well-sailed J/160, Jam, the cabin was warmed with copious helpings of Steve's piping-hot coffee and steaming tea, Julia's amazing, homemade banana-walnut-chocolate-chip bread and enough good cheer to make the uninitiated think that this was a crew happily sailing the Caribbean. At least they would be right about the happy crew part...but I do believe that the Caribbean has Puget Sound beat for sailing conditions in the month of March...
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