In need of a locksmith

Route du Rhum IMOCA 60 skipper Marc Guillemot unable to hoist his Solent

Wednesday November 3rd 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Handicapped by a technical problem, which has been preventing him from hoisting his genoa, Marc Guillemot, skipper of the IMOCA 60 Safran has managed to keep up the pace set by the leaders, who are currently making their way around the northern edge of the Azores high. He hopes to resolve this problem on Wednesday afternoon…

Since the start of the race, Marc Guillemot has been unable to hoist his big solent headsail, but this does not appear to have been much of a handicap over the past couple of days, since the wind got up off Ushant, but as he skirts the north edge of the Azores high, the wind has dropped off to around 12 knots or so… which is the lower end of the range for sailing under staysail. Since this morning (Wednesday), when the wind backed west-south-westerly, Safran has been making slightly slower headway than her nearest rivals: the fleet remains very much grouped together, with Kito de Pavant and Groupe Bel passing within 50 metres of Safran during the night.

Guillemot reported this morning: “I cannot hoist my big headsail because of the hook attachment, the locking mechanism, which locks the sail in place without pulling on the halyard. It’s a simple system and has never caused any problem before, but this time, there must be some dust or some dirt that is stopping the hook from closing. As soon as the sea state and wind conditions ease off, I’m going to try to solve the problem. It has to lock in place properly, as otherwise the sail would fall in the water, and I’ve already been through that before! I don’t want to lose it.

"Fortunately I won’t have to climb the mast as the mechanism is at the bottom. As the wind has backed around somewhat and has eased off since yesterday evening, I really need to be able to use that sail: I’m losing miles at the moment. I’ve been sailing under staysail and mainsail since leaving the English Channel and I managed to stay up with the pack, as the wind has been strong enough. Apart from that, I’m in fine shape, but I was really upset about this technical problem. I’m certainly still in the race!”

Since the early hours this morning, Safran has been sailing on the port tack after changing tack at the same time as Vincent Riou and Roland Jourdain. Guillemot’s goal is to get closer to the direct route and take advantage of a trajectory further north, where the wind is stronger, blowing at more than 13 knots. The group of seven IMOCA monohulls that chose the northern option, are attempting to skirt around the high pressure area, but there is always the danger of getting stuck in a calm. The wind is set to back slowly to the south-west in the coming hours and so it is a long tack westwards that lies ahead for Safran, until she reaches the cold front probably on Thursday evening or Friday morning…

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top