The Barcelona World Race suffered the loss of another competitor boat yesterday when the French boat Veolia Environnement lots its rig. The boat is currently proceeding toward Australia under jury rig (photo at left).
From the press release: Veolia Environnement skippered by French sailors Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nelias dismasted at 1800 GMT today (Monday, 17.12.07), the skippers are unharmed, and the boat itself undamaged. Veolia Environnement, lying in third place in the Barcelona World Race, was sailing in 22 knots of wind with full mainsail and gennaker, when they were hit by a stronger 30 knot gust of wind forcing the boat to ‘nose-dive’ into a 2 -3 metre wave – the mast broke suddenly 3.5 to 4 metres up from the deck. The position at the time of dismasting was 48 49.49N, 82 42.41E, approximately 1660 miles south-west of the SW tip of Australia and approximately 500 miles east of the Kerguelen Islands.
After cutting the mast away to avoid secondary damage to the boat, the skippers managed to save the boom and one of the outriggers (that support the mast) and once daylight comes will use these parts to build a jury rig to propel the boat under sail, without assistance, towards Australia. Currently however they are advancing at 5 to 6 knots under engine.
From Roland Jourdain:
“It all happened really fast. We dismasted while sailing downwind, in circumstances really close to the ones PRB had (when they broke their mast). We were under full main and gennaker, under autopilot. I was just waking up after a nap, Jean-Luc was on watch, we were both inside. There was 22 knots of wind, we were not pushing hard. There was a gust at 30 knots, the boat picked up speed and surfed down a wave, then nosedived and the mast just broke. We managed to clear up everything relatively quickly, it was done in an hour. The problem was that the mainsail was spread over the boat, we had to cut it, but we salvaged the boom and an outrigger. The mast broke 3.5 to 4 metres above deck level. Everything went overboard, and the stanchions were torn off, but the hull is intact. We’re waiting for daybreak then we’ll start working on a jury rig. We’re motoring towards Australia, at 5 to 6 knots of speed, we have enough fuel for roughly 60 hours.
“It’s the third mast problem in a week, yet it’s too early to draw conclusions. PRB and us have the same mast, but it broke at different places. Delta Dore had a different spar – there are loads of reasons that could explain those breakages.
“Physically, we were pretty tired after our Kerguelen pit stop, but we were back on track with joy and motivation. We felt that a lot could still happen.and that’s what has fallen upon us. What’s crazy is that almost exactly three years ago, roughly in the same area, I broke my keel during the 2004 Vendée Globe, and in the 2000 edition, still in the same zone, my mast traveller broke!” concluded Jourdain.