Skandia has suffered a major technical failure to the keel, which has led to the keel breaking away from the boat

The Open 60 Skandia overnight suffered a major technical failure to the keel, which has led to the keel breaking away from the boat, approximately 30cm below the hull. The boat is still upright, with no sails up, and water ballast tanks full to keep the maximum amount of stability possible.

Skandia skipper, Nick Moloney, contacted his shore team at 0500 GMT this morning [25.1.05] to report that he had a problem but it was not until twilight, three hours later, that he was able to fully assess the damage. In the intervening period Moloney stabilised the boat as much as possible by reducing sail and filling the yacht’s central water ballast tanks, with a total of over 5 tons of water. At just after 0830 GMT, the keel completely broke away.

Skandia’s position is approximately 120 miles south of Rio de Janeiro. The wind is around 22-25 knots from the north with a 1 to 1.5 metre swell. The priority for his shore team is to secure the safety of the skipper and they are working on getting an escort boat to Skandia as soon as possible.

Nick is unharmed, is safe on board Skandia and dealing with the situation as best he can. “I can’t believe this, I just can’t believe it, things were just starting to look better for me and I was really getting locked in to the thought of the finish in Les Sables,” said Nick. His race is over but all thoughts of that are secondary to securing his safety and that of the boat.

Moloney was on day 80 of the Vendée Globe with under 5,000 miles left to go on the solo round the world course. It was his first participation in the race and it dramatically ends his long-held dream to complete 3 big round the world sailing goals – of crewed round the world [1997-98 Whitbread on board Toshiba], fastest non-stop round the world [2002 Jules Verne Trophy on board Orange] and, finally, his ultimate goal of solo, non-stop around the world which has now cruelly come to an end.

Andre Oszmann, Group Marketing Director, Skandia: “We obviously share Nick’s immense disappointment at the damage to the boat and the premature termination of his Vendee Globe race. However, Nick’s safety and well-being is our primary concern. Skandia is extremely proud to be associated with Nick and his sailing career. His determination, talent and will to succeed are an example to us all. We are sure that he will overcome this disappointment to continue his search for new challenges.”