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Barcelona World Race: Second placed Foncia breaks mast top

Michel Desjoyeaux(FRA) and François Gabart (FRA) contacted Barcelona World Race Course Direction at around 0349hrs UTC (0449hrs CET) to report that the top of the mast of their IMOCA Open 60 had broken at close to 0300hrs UTC (0400hrs CET).

Foncia, lying in second place in the race, had been sailing under mainsail with one reef and staysail in 30 knots of SW’ly wind.

The crew of Foncia have reported that they are both OK and the duo are sailing towards Cape Town initially at around 10 knots. The top of the mast is reported to have broken off between the Solent forestay and the staysail forestay. The broken section of the mast is saved on the deck, leaving around 24 metres of mast remaining. There is no other damage noted.

The position of the boat was around 41 deg 13S 09 deg 03E at a distance from Cape Town of 619 miles.

Foncia report their dismasting and retire from the Barcelona World Race:

“ On January 26th 2011 at 0240hrs UTC positioned at 41°12,6 S and 8°59,8 E Foncia was sailing a course of 115 degrees at an average of 18 knots under Solent and one reef with the wind at 140 degree blowing at 25-30 knots, wind swell, and had the same conditions for around eight hours.

The mast broke above the solent hound, in other words around 25 metres above the deck (27.3m long tube). The rigging is still up held in place by the lower shrouds, the runners, the staysail stay and main jib stay. The broken section is hanging down at 20m up and is still held in place by the halyards. The solent, unfurled, because in use when the damage occurred was twisted around the whole mast.

The mainsail is held by its halyard at the third reef. Everything has stayed on board, nothing lost overboard. I can’t hide our disappointment, but we are healthy except I have a little pain in my right thumb which I got when I was trying to get the Solent under control.

We do not ask for any assistance. We are currently trying to head for Cape Town under sail, around 600 miles off. Our current speed is 11 knots course 76 deg. The forecasts for the next few days show no risk (today 25 to 30 knots from the S, weakening and clocking W). In two days the passage of the anticyclone (bringing light winds). If the seas are slight then maybe we will have the chance to climb the mast to recover the pieces and to be able to drop the mainsail. After that we should see 20-25 knots from the SE in to Cape Town.

Our ETA Cape Town then  should be 30th or 31st January.

We retire from the Barcelona World Race.”

Their close rivals Jean-Pierre Dick  and Loïck Peyron onboard Virbac-Paprec 3 sent the Foncia duo this message of solidarity: “Hello guys, this is really not good news. We really had become inseparable, motivating each other all the time, asking ourselves each day if we could hold up this pace until the end. It’s been a great honour to have been in this battle together. Good luck for the rest of the passage and our hearts go with you”.

Tags on NauticNews: Barcelona World RaceOpen 60 IMOCA

More details: www.barcelonaworldrace.org

Photo Credit: Foncia © María Muiña

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