Not crushed...


James Boyd reports from on board the new Open 60 Pindar, which dismasted in today's Artemis Challenge
For me sailing today on board Mike Sanderson's new Pindar in the Artemis Challenge round the island race against six other Open 60s was supposed to have been a mild warm-up and some boat familiarisation prior to Sunday's Rolex Fastnet Race where I had blagged the 'media spot' (making Moose and Brad Jackson tea and undrying their freeze dried...) Sadly a pleasant summer's day race around the Isle of Wight turn into an unfortunate tale of disaster. Racing on the same course as us were the two super maxis, Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo and Mike Slade's new Leopard, and at the 1000 start gun these two giants made the normally speedy Open 60 fleet appear to be standing still as they tore off west up the Solent even in the patchy breeze. On board Pindar we were sailing with Moose and Brad, a pregnant (we are told, not 'heavily pregnant') Mrs Sanderson, who was navigating, sponsor Andrew Pindar, newly appointed Team Director Nick Crabtree, project manager Nick Black and assorted Kiwi crewman such as ABN AMRO's Phil Harmer. Off the start line we were finding it hard to get in the 'groove', the boat only having sailed around three times before today. We faced potential embarrassment as initially we were overhauled by Jonny Malbon's Artemis (the old Pindar), sailing with Lady Gabriela Windsor as the on board VIP guest. Numerous sail changes later we sought more breeze as close as we dared to the mainland shore and then hoisted the Code Zero bearing away towards Hurst Narrows and the Needles, showing bursts of formidable speed in the gusts. At this stage Guillermo Altadill's Estrella Damm was leading the Open 60 charge but off the Needles they appeared to round the wrong mark and Pindar was able to overhaul them moving

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