Team Philips - the masts will be ready mid-November
The problem is understood to have arisen because the bearing that the free standing mast sits on generated more friction than the designers had anticipated - the problem that Goss had originally described. The fundamentals of the bearing will stay the same - a ball and socket joint, but the cup will be replaced in the base of both masts to try and reduce the friction. There will also be additional structure added to the mast base to accept the increased loading.
Goss commented, "The bemusing thing when the mast first became unstable was that we know it is strong enough to take the side loading because during the rig bending test in the ground, we took the structure to maximum, i.e. the point at which the boat capsizes. As such, I find it a relief that the problem is both specific and capable of being solved without a completely new bearing design." Goss then added, "There are consequences from such incidents and it is with great regret that I have had to accept Mike Calvin's resignation from the crew for 'personal and philosophical reasons'."
Mike Calvin explained, "I continue to believe in the potential of the boat, and the people involved in the project, but Pete and I have agreed to disagree about the nature of its development. Put simply, I do not believe there is sufficient time to prepare for The Race. The fact that my family shares this view weighs heavily on my decision. It is a sad day, because Pete and I have worked closely together over the past 3 years, but I want to wish him and the guys all the best."
Pete Goss said, "Whilst I do not agree with Mike, I do respect and understand his position - it takes a big person to say 'no.' Ultimately, the decision as to whether the boat goes or no rests with me and hinges on safety. The rest of the team remain confident and I do not believe that now is the time to make that decision." Team Philips expect to be back at sea mid-to-late November and then to undergo qualification for The Race which starts on December 31st, 2000. The rest of us continue to hold our breath about the future of this important sponsorship.