The Barcelona World Race fleet is down to just five boats as third-placed Veolia Environnement dismasted on Monday afternoon.
is the fourth boat to retire from the race, following PRB
, Delta Dore
(both also dismasted) and Estrella Damm
, skippered by French sailors Roland JOURDAIN and Jean-Luc NELIAS dismasted at 18:00 UTC on Monday. 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 1,660 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.
JOURDAIN explained, "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!"
Hugo Boss Closing the gap
Meanwhile at the front of the race, Hugo Boss
continues its quest of closing down the gap with race leader Paprec-Virbac 2
as both boats approach the Australian safety gate. The gap on the 10:00 leaderboard this morning is now just 40 miles, down from 131 miles yesterday at 16:00. In reality, on the water, the difference is a little bit more than that, but there is no question that Hugo Boss
has made enormous gains over the past 24 hours - 114 miles in fact! And there is still a significant speed difference on the 10:00 poll with Hugo Boss
over five knots quicker. The weather forecasts don't appear to account for this speed gap, although the conditions each boat is actually sailing in could be quite different from what is forecast.
The other boats that stand out are Mutua Madrilena
, who are powering along at 18 knots in powerful, reaching conditions. And Educacion sin Fronteras
is up to 10 knots now as the wind picks up as a Southern Ocean depression moves over them...
Barcelona World Race - www.barcelonaworldrace.org