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11 December 2007, 09:45 am
Southern Ocean Claims Another Victim
Damian FOXALL at the helm of Paprec-Virbac 2
Damian FOXALL at the helm of Paprec-Virbac 2

Barcelona World Race 2007-08

The Southern Ocean has claimed its third victim in the Barcelona World Race, with Delta Dore dismasting overnight.
With Sylvie VIANT, Race Director of the Barcelona World Race, has been notified by skipper Jérémie BEYOU (FRA) onboard the fourth-placed IMOCA 60 Delta Dore that his boat has been dismasted. Both he and co-skipper Sidney GAVIGNET (FRA) are unhurt and safe onboard and the boat itself is structurally intact.

BEYOU contacted the Race Direction team by Iridium satellite phone at 01:20 UTC (11 December) just minutes after the incident: "We have just been dismasted, we have wind from 300°, 25 knots increasing to 35 knots sometimes, and waves not too bad at about 4 metres. We were sailing with one reef in the mainsail and staysail [small headsail]. The mast seems to have fallen backwards."

Just under an hour later BEYOU reported: "We had to quickly cut the mast and boom away in to the water because it they were becoming dangerous and was going to start damaging the hull. The boat is okay, the deck is okay, only there are no more lifelines. And we have nothing big to use to make a jury rig for now."

The boat's position at the time of dismasting was 47°00 S 033° 25 E, nearly a thousand miles south east from South Africa, drifting slowly at between 1 and 2 knots east. The reason for the dismasting is unknown at this time.

The Race Direction Team is in regular contact with the two French sailors BEYOU and GAVIGNET and their shore team headed up by CHIORRI. The skippers have 188 litres of diesel onboard, which will provide approximately 60 hours of motoring, the equivalent of approximately 240 miles. The team are also already studying the options of a jury rig using spare mainsail battens onboard. The Maritime safety organisation, MRCC Cape Town, has been informed, however the skippers have not requested any outside assistance at this time.

Fast And Furious

Amongst the remaining boats, the exertion of pushing an Open 60 through the Southern Ocean is becoming clear as the race leaders battle through near 40-knot winds and towering seas. Paprec-Virbac 2, with a lead of some 100 miles, up to 134 miles at the 08:00 UTC poll this morning, has been pushing the boat hard, en-route to a 472-mile day. It's a fierce pace, but skipper Jean-Pierre DICK (FRA) insists they're managing the boat well, and not pressing too hard.

"We've had very strong winds, 40 knots, high seas, clouds, very dense, black clouds, it is really very impressive," he said on the afternoon video conference. "We are trying to make sure that everything is under control and in a few hours we hope to be out of this because it really is quite hard on the boat."

They can't let up, because behind them, Veolia Environnement is pushing nearly as hard with a 443-mile day. "We're still in the depression with 25 to 35 knots," said skipper Roland JOURDAIN (FRA). "We are trying to limit our speed. It's easy to get going too fast - say 24 or 25 knots. That's when we back off in order to manage the boat as well as possible...there is always someone on deck to take a reef in or ease the sheet."

Where the race leaders are sailing it is cold, windy and relentless. Hugo Boss, for example, is reporting sea water temperatures of 4-degrees, which is when ice becomes a possibility. But to this point, none of the boats have reported problems with icebergs or growlers.

Further back boats like Temenos II and Mutua Madrileña face a different set of problems. The different weather circumstances are most starkly illustrated by the mileage made in the past 24 hours by these two, compared to the race leaders; Temenos II has made 299, and Mutua Madrileña 267. So despite heroic efforts, they're dropping significant miles to the top pack.

"We started sailing upwind yesterday afternoon at around 18:00 and since then we have been close-hauled at 11 knots with winds of between 25 and 34 knots - now we are using the starboard water ballast and the leeward rudder, the keel at 100% to windward the mast at 55 degrees, two reefs and the solent jib," wrote Mutua Madrileña skipper Javier SANSÓ (ESP) in an email to race headquarters on Monday morning.

"We have to go down to 45 south to find downwind conditions again because further north there are only attacking easterlies. And all the while the boat is slamming around so much it could shake the fillings from your teeth. I don't know if you can imagine what a southerly wind in this part of the planet really means; the Southerly comes straight from the Antarctic; the outside air temperature is 9 degrees and the water 12, which rains down like piercing needles on our faces. The option of becoming a shepherd and having my little herd of sheep under the olive trees is becoming stronger by the day."

After losing the top of her mast over the weekend PRB reached Cape Town at approximately 06:00 UTC this morning. The French team is out of the race, as it will not be able to effect repairs in time to continue. Behind them, Estrella Damm is also heading to Cape Town - with an ETA of Wednesday evening - where its shore team is preparing to make repairs in an effort to get the boat back onto the race course as quickly as possible.

Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org
Barcelona World Race (As Amended by ISAF)
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