on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday.
"We heard a loud bang and not long after that the rig started to break. It fell straight down into the water," explained skipper Dean Barker. "It's obviously very disappointing. It has a big impact on our programme."
In both instances, the breakage has occurred on NZL-57 while French match racer Bertrand Pace was at the helm.
"We are pushing the boats harder than ever before," added Barker, but he believes the break was due to a mechanical or structural fault and not catastrophic crew error. Yesterday the yachts were sailing in fresh westerly winds of 18 to 25 knots.
Team New Zealand have a spare mast at the Halsey Street compound that can be stepped in NZL-57 so their defence programme will be up and running again with two yachts by Monday.