Wow – is there going to be anyone left to win this thing?? From Mike Golding:
ECOVER 3, skippered by Briton Mike Golding, dismasted at 0647hGMT this morning 830 miles south of Cape Leeuwin, Australia, while leading the Vendée Globe. "I was below deck when a squall came through with winds of 55knots. I had the main with two reefs and a reacher and had been like that for two hours. Overnight we had winds of up to 45k so I had two reefs and a staysail and then changed to the new configuration in the early morning," commented a very calm Golding, this morning. "It basically went from being a near gale to a hurricane, and the mast didn’t like it."
Overnight Golding had managed to secure a 30-mile lead over second-placed Paprec Virbac 2 after 36 days of racing. "I was just getting into my jacket and going out on deck when the boat rounded up and then heeled right over. I heard a bang and immediately went back below and waited until the noise had stopped."
"The whole rig is down, there is not even a stump left."
"Once everything had settled down a bit I went back out and the mast was lying across the deck and was acting as an anchor. When things stopped moving about dramatically I set about cutting off the rig. There is some superficial damage to the boat, but nothing major."
"My options now are controlled by what I can set up as a jury and unfortunately I don’t have much left. I am about 970nm from Perth and Fremantle, so whatever the deal is I will have to cover some 1000-odd miles, somehow." "I managed to save the boom but have lost all my sails, other than storm staysail, but this will probably fit and then I will how to work out how to fly something off the back of that." "But whatever I do, I will only be able to reach and will not be able to go up or downwind." "I am gutted. But there is not much I can do about it." Here’s the vid.