Spread damage for Delta Dore

Jeremie Beyou heads for Brazil to assess damage

Sunday November 23rd 2008, Author: Andi Robertson, Location: United Kingdom
Delta Dore skipper Jérémie Beyou has been heading towards Brazil since 0800hrs GMT this morning, probably aiming for Recife, in order to make an unaided pit stop to inspect the damage to two spreaders on the starboard side (his leeward side). Delta Dore is not retiring and Beyou hopes to carry out repairs by himself.

At 9h12 this morning 10th placed Beyou phoned the Race Directors to inform them of the damage. At around 7H UTC, he said noticed that two top spreaders on the leeward side (starboard) were no longer attached to the mast, damage which would ultimately prevent him from changing tack. The sailor is in no danger and is sailing at reduced speed towards the nearest land, Brazil. He is currently heading for the city of Recife some 430 mile away (on a bearing of 240°) which he would expect to reach in 2-3 days.

"I was inside the boat and I heard a noise. I went outside and I saw the spreaders hanging on the leeward side with the rigging swinging around. I hove to. I'm going to make sure the rig is as secure as possible by taking the strain off the sails by bearing away. I currently have the wind from astern," Beyou told his shore team

There was no impact to explain the damage. Only the repeated slamming in the choppy seas might explain why the spreader broke away from the mast. Vendée Globe race rules only allow external help in Les Sables d’Olonne. Each competitor must carry out repairs alone, according to the rules to stay in the race. Delta Dore cannot moor up in a harbour, but can only shelter off the coast. This is what Yves Parlier did in the 2000-2001 Vendée Globe, when he repaired his broken mast while sheltering off New Zealand.

“I laughed when I saw what had happened as so incredible," reported Beyou this morning. "But I am certainly not laughing any more. I had 20-22 knots of wind under staysail and full main. There was a gust of wind, a cracking sound and I saw the damage immediately. I waited until it was light to see what had happened. The whole (spreader root) attachment had broken away and rigging getting tangled. Seems to be the same on top spreaders too. I bore away and slowed down. The sea is still a bit choppy. I would like to climb, but spreader is swinging around, so cannot get to it for moment. Both are clearly broken. I think the mast might be damaged too.”

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