So near but so far

American Jonathan McKee discusses how he so nearly won the Mini Transat
If it were a fair world, Jonathan McKee would now be now well on his way to recovery following a well earned caipirinha-fuelled post-Mini Transat victor's drinking fest. Unfortunately the only part of this which has come to pass is that the American double Olympic medallist is in Salvador along with his boat, both having arrived by truck rather than by sea. In the early hours of 11 October McKee's Team McLube was leading the Mini Transat fleet, 100 miles ahead of the nearest competition. More east than his competitors he was also on a better angle to make the Brazilian coast at pace. Everything was looking good - until disaster stuck. "It wasn’t really that dramatic," recalls McKee of his boat's dismasting. "I’d been sailing for about three or four days, once I got through the Doldrums, upwind or just cracked off in 12-20 knots in moderate seas - good sized waves but not extreme conditions at all. At the time it happened there was 15-18 knots and really quite normal trade wind sailing, although upwind - I’d been going upwind for a long time and I’m sure that adds up. The incident occured at about midnight when McKee was asleep down below although he says it wouldn’t have mattered if he'd been on deck. "I could feel the boat come upright, and I went up on deck and saw that the mast had broken off at the first spreader." The failure was in the top termination of the port V1 shroud. All that remained of the mast was a 10ft high stump still supported by the D1. It was of course the middle of the night, the top of the mast was slumped in the water with sails and rigging in a complete tangle. "A lot of emotions and