Banque Populaire pulls in for repairs

Remaining fleet experiencing strong winds

Sunday May 13th 2001, Author: Isabelle Musy, Location: United Kingdom
Lalou Roucayrol has reported that last night (Saturday) his brand new trimaran Banque Populaire experienced problems and he had chosen to head back to the team's home port of Port-la-Forêt in Brittany to effect repairs.

"The staysail¹s hook, a big piece of titanium, broke. As a result the staysail flew in the air and damaged the mast. There is a 2,50 meters failure", explained skipper Lalou Roucayrol. "We¹re obviously really disappointed as we were in third place and doing well. We are hoping to make a repair as soon as possible. We should reach Port-la-Forêt tonight between 1800 and 2000. We will take off the mast tomorrow morning and see how long the repair will take. For the moment we don¹t want to pull out of the race. We¹re still hoping to start again"
After losing their brand new trimaran in the Europe 1 New Man STAR last year, the most recent brand new Banque Populaire was only launched in April and is still inevitably experiencing teething problems. "It is a problem due to the fact that the boat is brand new and hasn¹t sailed much. The hook is designed especially for the boat and we still don¹t know yet why it broke", added Roucayrol.

At the time of the breakage Banque Populaire was sailing upwind at 16-17 knots. "It is sad because the boat was performing very well. We had a good speed
and were very happy", said Roucayrol.

At present the other seven boats in the Challenge Mondial Assistance fleet is okay. There had been a few minor problems on some boats but they have all been solved.

Word from the boats is that the wind has picked up more than expected. Alain Gautier's Foncia-Kingfisher is still in the lead, about 40 miles ahead of Groupama.

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