Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Artemis dimasted: Out of Transat Jacques Vabre

Photo by OnEdition
Young British pair devastated by blow just four days into race. Malbon said that while conditions had got worse during the course of the day and the wind has strengthened to 35 knots, the boat was performing well in the rough seas.

"We had the masthead spinnaker and the full mainsail up this morning but knew that the wind was forecast to increase, so we put one reef in the mainsail and changed to the jib. We had been pushing the boat hard to try and make ground with the front group but we weren't pushing too hard. You wouldn't expect this to happen in these conditions, but it always happens when you least expect it."

Malbon described the moment when the 4,340 mile race for him and Tourell was over, after just 575 miles: "We surfed down a wave, a pretty steep one, and then hit this wall of water in front of us. The boat literally came to a standstill and the rig just fell forwards towards the bow of the boat. "We tried to save the boom and the bottom section of the mast but to save the hull, we had to cut them free and throw everything over the side - the rig, the boom and the sails."

Artemis was in 10th position in a fleet of 17, 100 miles off the coast of Vigo (Spain) when the dismasting happened and trying hard to close the gap on the leading boat, Safran, 130 miles ahead.

Malbon and Tourell are currently off the coast of north west Spain, waiting for the rescue boat, which is likely to be with them in the next 12 hours. -