Fujifilm salvage posse

Loick Peyron gives his thoughts on his wrecked trimaran

Sunday November 17th 2002, Author: Catherine Girydevaux, Location: Transoceanic
From aboard the Russian cargo ship that rescued him two days ago, Loïck Peyron has been organised the retrieval of his 60ft trimaran Fujifilm that broke up from beneath and was dismasted last week.

Peyron, one of the favourites for a win in the Route du Rhum, set foot aground in the Azores early this morning, then flew to Lisbon, before reaching Vigo (Spain) and climbing aboard a trawler along with members of his technical team. " Fujifilm is drifting at 2-3 knots in our direction, and will be about 100 miles off Vigo when we'll leave the harbour… Things are looking good", he commented, anxious to get his hands on the boat he and his team have spent so many thousands of hours developping.

"The atmosphere aboard the cargo ship was great," commented Peyron, "even if it was still quite shaky, the seas were still heavy and I could see that the guys were not quite relaxed. One must admit that lately, major things happened in the area, and when you forget the context of the race, you easily notice that the Route du Rhum boats were not the only ones to suffer… The situation was quite unbelievable, no weather pattern could forecast that. The sea state was crazy, I had never experienced the conditions I endured in the past few days. I was a victim of a "rogue wave"… You don't control the sea, but even if you know that, the sea will make sure you remember it ! And there's a price to pay… That said, we can talk about it easily because there has been no human loss, it's just broken carbon".

Moving on to the topic of his broken boat, Peyron said: "The windward float is a trimaran's weak point, we've known that for 20 years, because when it's out of the water, it's not supported anymore : if it gets hit, it can vibrate and break - we know that,, and we build the floats with huge safety margins, but it does not protect us from exceptional events, as we've just seen. Fundamentally, , the boats are structurally strong, Marc Guillemot's floats are strictly identical to the ones that were on Fujifilm, and he's still in the race. I would ask myself some questions if the accident had happened to me with a 2-month old boat, but here, I have no doubt whatsoever concerning the work done by the architect, the builder or the team who improved Fuji all season long.

"My trimaran has already covered 10,000 miles, most of which in tough racing conditions : remember the Lighthouses Race (when Loïck won in tough weather conditions while most of the fleet had to retire because of breakages, editor's note) ! This first portion of the Route du Rhum has only reinforced my conviction : this boat is intelligent and perfectly built - she has only been the victim of a conjunction of bad events, and she's not the only one in this area lately, if anything else.

"So I'm en-route to retrieve Fujifilm, and we'll keep on improving her. Paradoxically, I really want to go back out there - these machines are so fascinating to handle! I really want to start sailing again… Ships have been sailing the seas and writing beautiful stories for thousands of years… We have to write more stories, work, progress, because if sailors were not here to improve their boats, we'd still be crossing the Atlantic on Santa Marias".

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