The Jules Verne Challenger may be repaired one week ahead of Bruno Peyron's self-imposed deadline of 10 March, and may possibly be completed as early as the 2 or 3 March.
French yard Multiplast have thrown a whole team at the urgent task of repairing the 110ft maxicat's mast so that it can still catch the weather to mount an effective attempt at stealing the 71-day record this year. Rather than repair the top-most segment, whose failure was caused by the halyards cutting into it, the decision has been taken to create a 5m section from scratch and the first carbon layer was already in the mould by this afternoon.
The new piece is scheduled to be completed by 23 February, after which time it has to be scarfed onto the main section using layers of carbon cloth.
Mast completion date is currently set for 2 or 3 March, marginally ahead of Olivier de Kersauson's 6 March departure date when he set the 71-day marker last year, but two weeks later than the record-holder's departure this year onboard the trimaran Geronimo (see news here earlier today).