Kiwi 40 retires after collision
After just over 2 days at sea, the Normandy Channel Race is down to 13 Class40s still racing.
This morning at 0900 GMT, race leader Michel Kleinjans and Marc Lepesqueux on their new Farr-designed Cookson-built Kiwi 40FC Marie Toit – Caen la Mer announced their retirement following a collision- bizarrely - with a pipe being towed by a tug.
As Michel Kleinjans described it: “A tug was making headway on a course virtually parallel to our own. As such we weren’t paying any more attention than that. I was up forward when I spotted a black pipe. I ran to the helm but it was too late. The pipe slipped between the rudders and ended up getting stuck there. The stock of one of the rudders is twisted, the sail is likely to be damaged and maybe the hull too.”
For Marc Lepesqueux, it was a bitter disappointment: “We found it difficult to get our bearings initially but after the Saint Marcouf islands, things went better! We were in second place on exiting the Solent and this morning, after last night’s option, we were leading. We’d worked well until this stupid thing! It’s pleasant sailing on a modern boat which has a fast hull below the waterline and great potential. I’m disappointed we can’t finish the race and that we’ll miss out on the fine reward of a downwind run from Ireland to Guernsey.”
The crew of Marie Toit – Caen la Mer plan to take the boat back to Kleinjans' homeport in Belgium to effect repairs.
With Marie Toit – Caen la Mer so the first continues to be on for the lead. Fabien Delahaye and Bruno Jourdren aboard Port de Caen Ouistreham have taken over ahead of Tanguy de Lamotte and Sébastien Audigane on Initiatives Saveurs with Jean Galfione and Eric Péron on Talanta third.
For the past few hours, the competitors have been enjoying some downwind sailing, although the wind remains strong. as they head for Tuskar Rock off southeast Ireland.
This afternoon the race organisers announced a course change. The weather forecast shows a deep depression homing in on the Irish Sea which is likely to reach the fleet early morning tomorrow, Wednesday. The SSWerly winds generated by this are likely to be very strong and, as a result, the race committee has taken the decision to shorten the course: “Given the upcoming weather conditions in the Irish Sea and especially at Fastnet Rock - 40 to 45 knots of SSWerly wind and heavy seas, we’ve opted, in agreement with the organisation, to remove the Fastnet lighthouse mark and send the fleet directly towards Guernsey after Tuskar Rock”, explains Sylvie Viant, Race Director.
All the competitors have been warned by email. Unfortunately he 13 Class40s now face a long beat back to Land's End after they have rounded the rock. However the wind is forecast to shift to the west resulting in a downwind leg across the Channel to Guernsey.