Port bow breaks on Marc Guillemot's trimaran

La Trinitaine-Team Ethypharm out of the Challenge Mondial Assistance

Monday May 14th 2001, Author: Isabelle Musy, Location: United Kingdom
Marc Guillemot's trimaran suffered major damage this morning when the bow broke off the front of her port float. The daggerboard itself is also badly broken. The crew quickly dropped the sails and tried to block the hole. Following Banque Populaire's withdrawal yesterday, La Trinitaine-Team Ethypharm is the second boat to pull out of the Challenge Mondial Assistance since the start on Saturday.

Skipper Marc Guillemot reported that the bow had been ripped off in a wave. A crash box in the bow of the float is designed to prevent the hull flooding, but appeared not to save the integrity of the float. Guillemot said that the damage was letting water into the float. The crew is working out a way to fix it in order to sail back to France safely.
Guillemot explained what happened: "We were heading further north as we thought we were too close to the centre of the depression. We were sailing at a speed of 25 knots with a reef in the main and the Solent, we were supposed to gybe in about an hour when we felt a jolt near the bow. The port bow's crash box was ripped off. I'm pretty sure we didn't hit anything so I don't understand why it broke. But the worst is that the port board itself is also damaged and water has started to come in. It gave us a fright as it took us a while before we managed to control the boat and drop the sails. We had a look and discovered a hole in the float beneath the board.

"We will try to tie the board in place with ropes to prevent more damage. It will take us time but we want to do everything to save the boat. Then we¹ll see where we should head in order to get a southwesterly wind so we can sail on starboard (to lift the float out of the water). The problem is that the depression that we were rounding is heading southeast, so either we head north as our weather assistant Pierre Lasnier suggests (which I don¹t really want) or we head south in order to wait for the south-westerly wind. But it might take a long time. For sure, we¹re in a difficult situation. Anyway, I'll make sure we save the boat. We are really, really disappointed."

Prior to this Jean le Cam's Bonduelle had retired from the race - also with damage to her port float. "We heard a loud crack - a shroud block had exploded and caused a 350mm long tear in the port float. It could have brought the mast down," reported le Cam. Bonduelle is now heading back to her home port of Port-la-Foret in Brittany.

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