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Sydney Hobart - Etihad Stadium Supermaxi loses her rig

by Jody O'Brien on 11 Dec 2009
SKANDIA on the plane - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2008 Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

One of the seven supermaxis entered in the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, Grant Wharington’s 98 foot Supermaxi, Etihad Stadium, (formerly Skandia Wild Thing) has lost its rig on its delivery to Sydney.

Late on Friday this afternoon, the boat was doing approximately 25 knots downwind, with no spinnaker, when the mast simply failed, something that has Grant and his crew baffled.

They are now heading to Eden to re-fuel and continue under motor en route to Sydney.

All 20 crew on board are accounted for and no one has been hurt in the incident, which has everyone dumbfounded.

'Not long before this happened, a number of us were talking about how good the boat was feeling and how excited we were about the Rolex Sydney Hobart 'said Grant.

The delivery, undertaken by the full race crew, got underway at 8:30am this morning (Friday 11 Dec) from Mornington, and they were 10 miles off Deal Island when disaster struck.

After making contact with the shore crew, Grant’s next phone call was to supermaxi rival, Neville Crichton, owner of Alfa Romeo, who has a spare 45 metre carbon fibre mast in Europe, and is willing to provide it to Grant to allow him to get to the start line on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

The biggest challenge now is getting the mast from the south of France to Sydney in the next few days to have crew working around the clock to assemble in time for the 1pm start on the 26th of December.

It requires a 747 cargo plane that can take a 900 kilogram-45 metre cylinder at short notice...!

Etihad Stadium, who won the Amazing Naming Rights draw on Tuesday of this week, is talking with their Etihad Airways contacts to see how they might be able to assist.

If the mast is able to be flown out of Europe and into Sydney within the next 4 to 5 days, there is a very strong chance of the Etihad Stadium Supermaxi lining up with the six other supermaxis in a little over two weeks time.

The boat is expected to arrive in Eden between 4 and 6am tomorrow morning - Saturday 12th December.

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