Start line failure

Just as Kingfisher2 was about to cross the line...

Tuesday January 28th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
There was a temporary set back for Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher2 this morning, when upon lining up for the start of their attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy for sailing non-stop around the world they suffered a technical failure.

At around 0900am, they had made the decision to take the start line, the official WSSRC timer in place on Ushant when it was noticed that there were significant signs of wear on the mast track at the position of the headboard car when the mainsail is double reefed. Why this has happened remains a mystery.

"To start a 26,000 mile race around the world without being in 100% form would not be a good move, and we made the decision just after 0900gmt to head for calmer waters for a fuller inspection and eventual repair. We have done some good hard miles in the current configuration, and the conditions we have experienced since we left Lorient have been difficult but nothing out of the ordinary. Further investigation will no doubt provide the answer."

The big cat under reduced sail is currently heading for the shelter of Plymouth - at present it is blowing F7-9 from the northwest - where the shore team are currently racing in order to effect a repair. It is unlikely that Kingfisher2 will restart until the end of the week.

Whilst of course disappointed, Ellen, the crew and the shore team are already fully focused on the solution, and a restart as soon as possible in 100% condition. "Obviously the guys are very disappointed, but everyone has actually taken this setback well...we are already very much on to the detail of resolving the problem and getting on with the job of sailing around the world," commented MacArthur by satellite phone this morning.

Weather router Meeno Schrader has confirmed that the weather window may well stay open until the weekend.

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