Cam Lewis reflects on his brief transat record attempt
Cam Lewis, co-skipper Laurent Bourgnon and the crew of the 110ft catamaran Team Adventure were quietly pleased with their progress after 14 hours. They were 45 miles ahead of record pace making 28 knots with all sail in 20-25 knots of wind, expecting a 610-mile day – in his own words: “On paper – railroad tracks laid straight to the Lizard.”
“A couple of more bumps to leeward, junk bouncing off our port dagger board, hull and rudder to leeward. Crossing the Georges Bank, asking why is there so much junk in the ocean here and why are we smacking into it. Swirling currents, Gulf Streams eddies, Labrador currents and millions of people tossing their garbage into the sea close by. We had sailed around the world and hit nothing!
“Then at daylight 0530 I had finally closed my eyes and was sleeping or at least dozing in a bunk just below the helmsman when a huge bang startled, adrenalin shooting through my neurons. I was on deck in a flash thinking that the pole had broken and expecting to see the mast tumbling down. It took a few seconds to zoom my eyes on to the leeward port bow which was definitely broken off and oscillating wildly in all directions. Broken off aft of the forward beam. Not what one would have expected from a collision with a??
“We hit something. Stuart McKelvey was further aft in the windward cockpit and believes that what he saw closely resembled a section of an overturned white boat with a red waterline stripe about 15 feet long. No one else saw a thing. It was too foggy to even see the tip of the mast. Our speed barely slowed. The UFO (unidentified floating object) disappeared in the soup behind. Sails were dropped within minutes
“The impact caused the sacrificial crash box on the knuckle of the bow to shear off just as designed. The shock from the crash must have caused the massive failure of the hull/bow just aft of the forward crossbeam. A failure that will certainly have me, our crew and all the designers and engineers baffled. Right now we need a busload of carbonologists and a truckload of money to get back out here and have another go at this elusive record. This is not the last of our team, we will be back.”
Team Adventure was towed into Shag Harbour on Cape Sable Island. Propellers were attached to the auxiliary engines and Team Adventure motored out under her own steam and arrived in Vinalhaven, Maine 20 hours later.