Mike Golding on the rig dropping (but not breaking!) from his 60 foot IMOCA, Gamesa as they were preparing for the Vendee: “We were in 12 knots of breeze going upwind, nothing exceptional. It was a quiet day, flat water. You wouldn’t have expected any sort of failure like that in these conditions so it was obviously something that was latent, just sitting there waiting to break and obviously it is unfortunate it broke then.
“At least like this, the mast is unbroken and potentially undamaged, other than cosmetic damage. The bottom spreaders probably need replacing, there is a little bit of damage around the foot, but the mast itself landed on the boat quite gently, it really was quite gentle so in that regard there is a good chance the downtime won’t be as long as it might have been.
“I’m pretty gutted. It was a little too light to do proper training, but we had enough breeze to work the boat up and get some pressure on the boat and this is the result. So pretty disappointing really, but better now than later on in the year, at least we have some time to sort it out so now we just have to deal with it.
“The biggest damage is from a training perspective, it puts a big hole in that plan. We have a minimum six weeks of down time and the problem is not so much the damage, but the lead time on the components [we’ll need] as a lot of these are custom components. The rigging in particular will need looking at and we probably need to be changing it because it has been bent in bad directions, and the lead times on those components are pretty long. I think six weeks, optimistically four maybe, it just depends ….. And we are in the lap of the weather. If we are able to, we can repair the boat and the damage to the coach roof outside if the weather is clement …. but it is a completely different ball game if we have to lift the boat out of the water and inside a shed and with those things you multiple the lead times. But it is a little early to say. We need to survey the damage: we have non-destructive testing surveyors coming on Friday, the insurers have been informed, our sponsors, and we have done all the things we can do now, we just have to pick up the sticks and make sure we don’t break anything else and get ourselves going.
“In the context of the Vendée Globe, it is disappointing as we lose some training time, but on the other hand, I suppose we have learned something valuable and this could have happened at any point so in the context of the Vendée I doubt it will have a real negative effect and I’m hopeful that the rig is ok and we can get ourselves going. But it is obviously very disappointing.
Thanks to Mark Lloyd for the shots…