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At 1100 BST French Figaro Skipper Macif, co-skippered by Charlie Dalin and Yoann Richomme, was unfortunately dismasted during the Transat AG2R La Mondiale while on route to the fleet’s only turning mark at La Palma.
Battling it out in the top five with Adrian Hardy and Vincent Biarnes aboard AGIR Recourvrement and Thierry Chabagny and Erwan Tabarly aboard Gedimat, Dalin and Richomme were one of the last boats in the fleet to gybe off the coast of Morocco – now 990nm into the race.
Caught out by strong winds currently beasting the fleet in the Atlantic, the Macif boat was dismasted after the spinnaker pole hit the water as they broached out during a gybe.
“We made a mistake during the manoeuvre and planted the pole in the water. That combined with the strong winds snapped the mast,” Richomme reported following the incident.
“Everything is fine onboard and we are not injured,” he said. “We know that our race is over and that we can’t continue across the Atlantic.”
Now 154 miles from Madeira, experienced Figaro competitors Dalin and Richomme will make a jury rig to support the damaged mast and make their way to dry land.
Understandably disappointed, but with the rest of the racing season in mind, Richomme concluded: “There are 30 to 35 knots of wind on the course, with three to four meters of swell – it’s really rough out here.
“This is a really unfortunate mistake for us to make that has cost us dearly. Luckily we realised what was happening quickly and we were able to act and prevent further damage to the boat.”
“It is now time for us to make the boat safe, get her to land and look ahead to the rest of the racing season.”
While Skipper Macif are forced to retire, the double-handed transatlantic battle rages on with AGIR Recourvrement now leading the fleet to La Palma. British skippers Sam Matson and Robin Elsey are currently in sixth.
Since starting the race on Sunday 3rd April, the now 14-boat fleet has been subjected to days of wet, windy and uncomfortable sailing across the Bay of Biscay, as Matson reported in a daily blog to HQ (as written).
“charging through waves at the moment clinging to the nav station. the weather has made life on board somewhat impossible with every task taking about 10 x longer to do as we get thrown around. must admit looking forward to some calmer seas and a little less wind but we are making good progress. looks like 2 more days then we will be near the turning mark and the weather should calm down there which will be good as we will be able to take off our wet weather kit which has been on for days!”
Now less than 300 miles from their waypoint at La Palma, the AG2R skippers look forward to a little relief from the bone shaking and skin soaking conditions they’ve so far endured, hoping for flatter seas and a ride on the Tradewinds south.
– PR –