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10 September 2007, 04:54 pm
Wild Oats Dismasts In Porto Cervo
Image of Wild Oats and her broken mast
Wild Oats XI dismated

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2007
Porto Cervo, Italy

Bob OATLEY's (AUS) Wild Oats dismasted just 3 minutes into racing on day three of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo.
After an idyllic start on Monday with perfect sailing conditions followed by Tuesday's postponement due to a roaring Mistral, the 38 competing yachts in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, faced light and shifty winds on Thursday which kept everyone working hard throughout a testing 65-mile course.

The race Committee stuck to schedule and set an Islands Race for today which brought the fleet on a long windward leg around the outside of the La Maddalena archipelago before rounding the island of Lavezzi and heading back down between the coast and the islands of Spargi, La Maddalena and Santo Stefano, through the strait between Capo d'Orso and Caprera and south of the Gulf of Pevero to round Mortoriotto before turning back north to cross the finish line off Porto Cervo.

Although a brisk 12 knot breeze from north-east accompanied the start of racing, much of the fleet struggled upwind to the natural mark of Lavezzi as the wind moved round to become easterly and dropped to around 6-7 knots as the leaders rounded the French island.

The Racing Division's Alfa Romeo owned by Neville CRICHTON (NZL) once again led the fleet around the course and was followed at Lavezzi by Hasso PLATTNER's (GER) Morning Glory and George DAVID's (USA) Rambler. OATLEY's Wild Oats - Alfa Romeo's closest competitor - was ruled out of racing for the rest of the week as she dismasted just 3 minutes into racing today. In just 11 knots of breeze OATLEY and his crew were left wondering what exactly went wrong as their mast split into three pieces and they were forced to abandon their mainsail and headsail in the waters off Porto Cervo. Fortunately only one crew member sustained mild injuries and the rest of the crew returned safely to port.

'We've never had anything like this happen in ten years of offshore campaigning,'

said Wild Oats helmsman Mark RICHARDS (AUS). 'We could understand it more easily if we were pounding upwind in rough seas and strong winds, but that wasn't the case here.' maintained her lead throughout to cross the finish line almost 10 minutes ahead of Morning Glory. On corrected time however the smallest boat in the Racing fleet, Stephen AINSWORTH's (AUS) Loki took first place ahead of Tom HILL's (USA) Titan 12 and Morning Glory.

Alfa Romeo

Loki

also leads the overall scoreboard after two races ahead of Morning Glory and Titan 12.

Jill Campbell (As Amended By ISAF)
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