Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Demolition Derby

Another incredible race today, but unfortunately at the expense of +39's brand new mast, in the boat for just three days. That works out to about 100,000 Euros per day. It came down during a congested windward mark rounding, with boats piling in from the port layline with nowhere to go. Germany had to make a massive bear-away and as they did so their mast came upright with their port jumper-strut hooking up the rigging on the leeward side of +39 on starboard tack.

The rig came tumbling down at an incredible rate. However, one of the Italian crewmembers remember to pay a one-fingered salute to the Germans, who were also forced to retire due to their broken jumper strut. Apparently the lady who rode in the 18th man position at the back of +39 was less than impressed and won't be accepting the invitation again.

Afterwards Iain Percy was his usual laid-back self, apparently unflappable even when all hell breaks loose. The Germans were very apologetic and have offered to help out in whatever way they can, but at the same time they are protesting Areva in what appears to be an attempt to offload the onus of responsibility (and presumably the onus of paying for +39's extensive damage) on to the French. The protest hearing has been adjourned until tomorrow after racing, and it will be interesting to see who ends up picking up the bill for this mess.

Meanwhile, China Team's new boat nearly turned into a submarine as a big wave came over the bow and poured in through the forehatch. The crew were waist deep in water below decks, but they survive to fight another day. +39 Challenge will be drowning their sorrows in beer tonight, but Percy hopes they might be back in action for Friday.

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