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Holcim-PRB heading to Rio to repair and will try to finish The Ocean Race Leg 4 after dismasting

by Team HOLCIM - PRB 27 Apr 2023 15:40 PDT 27 April 2023
Team Holcim-PRB - The Ocean Race © Georgia Schofield | PolaRYSE | Team Holcim-PRB

Since the dismasting of the IMOCA Holcim-PRB this morning while leading the Leg 4 of The Ocean Race between Itajai and Newport, the crew and shore team haven't lost one second. The disappointment is strong for Kevin Escoffier, Benjamin Schwartz, Fabien Delahaye and Annemieke Bes, but they all quickly turned their attention to the next step and looked for solutions.

In constant contact with the entire shore team, they were able to analyze all the possibilities to get back into the race as quickly as possible. "We were in the lead with this new crew that joined us at the start of Itajaí. We are looking for the best solution to get back in the race as soon as possible. The shore team has been working very hard since the dismasting to get us to Newport or the next leg as soon as possible. We worked all night to get as many things as possible back on board: the outriggers, the mast, the boom, the sails, the J2 are on board. I'm happy that we were able to do this last night, but of course I'm also deeply saddened by what happened. That's life" said Kevin Escoffier.

The mast broke, according to the first analyses, following the breakage of a J2 swivel (headsail of about 100m2 on a forestay). The breakage of this attachment system caused the spar to fall backwards onto the cockpit. The mast broke into several pieces but the crew did not notice any major damage to the cockpit or the whole boat. Exceptional images were captured by a camera installed on top of the mast and by the onboard reporter, Georgia Schofield.

Kevin Escoffier's goal is now to reach a port to recover and install a new mast. The IMOCA class has a replacement mast in Lorient and it is this mast that will equip Holcim-PRB for the rest of the race. At the end of the day, Kevin and his team decided to sail under jury rig to Rio de Janeiro. The rules of The Ocean Race allow for stops for repairs. Once the monohull has been repaired, the crew will have to reach the GPS point where the dismasting occurred and will be able to continue this Leg 4 to Newport while racing. The crew could make landfall within 48 hours.

It is thus in a real race against the clock in which the whole team of the Holcim-PRB project is launched. "In one second you go from "everything is fine" to a nightmare. I've said from the beginning of The Ocean Race that at some point we're bound to run into a problem. It's not about the type of problem, it's about how we overcome it. We're going to work hard to get back in the race" concludes the skipper of GO CIRCULAR.

Thanks to its great start to the race (two victories and a second place leg), Holcim-PRB had a solid lead in the rankings up until then. If the team manages to get back into the race and finish this leg in Newport, it will score at least one point. With this extra point, the team will be assured of keeping the lead in the overall standings. Everyone in the project wants to believe in it. The anthem chosen by the crew for The Ocean Race, the song "Unstoppable" by Sia, has never been so well named!

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