another down, another not

Fabrice Payen, the skipper of Team Vent Debout, a 50ft trimaran in the Rhum Multi class, Fabrice Payen, announced that he had dismasted this morning while sailing about 230 miles west of the Portuguese coast. After Isabelle Joschke in IMOCAs and Sam Goodchild in Class40s, Payen is the third competitor to dismast.
The 49-year-old from Saint Malo, who is in good health, was sailing with three reefs in the mainsail and J3 when the rig came down after a failure in the starboard chainplate. Conditions had calmed down in the area, with just over 20 knots of wind as Team Vent Debout held second place, just over 200 nautical miles behind class leader Pierre Antoine on Olmix.
Payen who lost a leg in a motorbike accident four years ago, is now heading to a Spanish or Portuguese port that has yet to be determined. The CROSS Griz Nez rescue organisation has been informed and has issued an alert to ships close by.
Morning update from Class40 skipper Phil Sharp
“It was a very difficult evening and first half of the night… There were lots of vicious squalls around so I’d be sailing along in a 20-25 knot breeze and then get hit by 40 knots. One squall even touched 50 knots. It has been virtually impossible to sleep as the wind is always changing so you need to be on deck to re-trim and control the boat each time a squall hits.
I’ve been racing as hard as possible in these windy reaching conditions, especially to stay with the newer boats, which are literally going up to 2 knots faster at times in these conditions. I have just checked the positions and pleased to be in 2nd now, but I can’t believe how quick the Lombard Lift ‘Veedol’ is, eating 10 miles out of me last night, even faster than the Mach 3 ‘Aina’. It is however, ideal strong reaching conditions for both of these new boats and I’ll have to play catch up from Monday, when hopefully they’ll be less reaching!
Last night I was hit by a big a wave so hard that the force of the water picked one of my sails up and threw it right across to the other side of the boat. I had clipped the bag on, but it tore the attachment points clean off. Miraculously the mainsheet stopped it from being washed over the side.
Everything is super wet on board. Most of my clothes and all my mid-layers are wet now, and so I have to wear just a base layer and keep moving the whole time to stop from getting cold.
So when will these mad conditions stop?! Well unfortunately not until Sunday or even Monday, when it starts to at least blow up our derriere, rather than against us. We have another new low pressure coming in tonight, and it will get very windy. I will probably have to use the storm jib again.
So that’s life on board, big thanks to all the support/motivational messages so far – It is really great to get these when out alone in a very hostile North Atlantic. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Also thanks Pablo for the surprise Spanish cakes – the treat of yesterday’s food bag, “If I close my eyes I am in Santander” – Phil.
More here.