Exhausted crews rest between depressions

Foncia leading; Banque Populaire leaves tomorrow; la Trinitaine's rescue team

Wednesday May 16th 2001, Author: Isabelle Musy/James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
For Franck Cammas aboard Groupama ling third, it has been a tough night for him and his crew. "We're all exhausted. We keep on manoeuvring as the wind keeps changing. We're back into the race but we wasted time fixing things. The starboard hand foil broke but there is nothing we can do about it. We had another few breakages. Yesterday morning, the staysail hook (halyard lock) broke as well and damaged the masthead. Ronan Lucas spent an hour at the top of the mast and came back down severely bumped! Stève Ravussin spent some time working at the bow.
"Without the gennaker, we had a blind spot and had to bear away while Foncia-Kingfisher was luffing up. That's how we lost contact. But we're happy with our current position compared to Bayer and Foncia-Kingfisher. I wonder why they went so high. I think the race is still open. Of course, we'll be penalised a little bit with our broken foil. I do hope that we won't have to sail on starboard tack for too long."

The main news has been about Marc Guillemot and his five crew-members who abandoned their trimaran la Trinitaine-Team Ephypharm yesterday. They will have to remain aboard the navy frigate Surcouf that is following the race. The Surcouf is carrying media and will be staying with the fleet until the finish, although race organiser Pierre Bojic told madforsailing there was a possibility the crew would be dropped off in Gibraltar.

Ashore, Guillemot's shore team is mounting a rescue mission and is expected to leave Brest tomorrow to recover the stricken trimaran, currently lying 600 miles out in the Atlantic. Among the people who will be on board the trawler on Wednesday morning are Thomas Coville and Olivier Wrocsynski who went to save Primagaz (now Bayer) when Laurent Bourgnon flipped her in the 1996 OSTAR. Meanwhile a dispute is running between Nigel Irens, the boat's designer and Norbert Mabire, her builder, over why the float broke.

In Port-la-Foret, Lalou Roucayrol's Banque Populaire has been repaired and should return to the race tonight at 1900GMT. There has been some confusion over what broke on her, but the boat's designer Marc Lombard confirmed to madforsailing today that it was a problem with the titanium halyard lock at the top of the mast.

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