Orange skippered by Bruno Peyron left Brest early this morning in their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, only to be thwarted in their attempt.
Having started at 11.58.54 GMT this morning in a perfect 20-25 kt north-easterly breeze, the crew of thirteen were sorely disappointed when half an hour after the start the mast head broke 80cm from the top. There was no damage to any of the metal fittings or the sails.
At the time Orange was sailing under a big gennaker at 28 knots and it appears that the load from this sail must have been too much for the rig. No injuries on board were caused by the accident.
Bruno Peyron and his crew immediately started emergency proceedings to drop the gennaker. A member of crew was sent up the mast to free the jammed sail and prevent a possible total dismasting.
At 1345 the boat gybed towards the island of Sein and set course for Vannes, where she is expected sometime during the night. The boat will be taken in by the Multiplast yard which will organise the unstepping of the mast before a complete assessment of the damage.
This is a similar fate to that which halted Olivier de Kersauson's trimaran Geronimo start.
Olivier de Kersauson, the current record holder, is having Geronimo's mast stepped today and hopes to set off in the next few days, if the weather pattern permits.