Dismasting means the sailor behind the new Pindar may never race her


Alongside the good cause at the heart of today’s Artemis Challenge charity race round the Isle of Wight in Open 60s was a serious showdown between two of the latest boats. But the head to head between the new Estrella Damm, a new Farr-designed 60 owned by Ellen MacArthur’s OC Group, and Pindar, the Juan Kouyoumdjian 60 ended disastrously with Pindar’s dismasting on her first ever race.

I was racing on Estrella Damm with co-skippers Guillermo Altadil and Jonathan McKee, and their crew. The two new boats were showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet, with Estrella Damm taking the lead, when Pindar’s rig came down. According to the sponsor Andrew Pindar, who was aboard at the time, the rigging components were all recovered and nothing was broken. Unusually, it looks as if tube failure might be the cause.

But whatever the reason, the result is the same. The insurance excess is so large that the loss won’t be insured, so from a business point of view there’s the cost. Beyond that, Pindar admits there are some bruised egos.

The design has been driven by Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson and, rightly or wrongly, it has come to represent the ultimate powered-up Open 60, the boat built for speed with least compromise, the one that has pushed technology the furthest.

This puts Pindar out of the running for the Fastnet Race this weekend. The crew are saying that it may be possible to repair the deckspreader-supported wingmast in time for November’s two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Brazil. But ironically, it will not be Moose at the helm then; his wife Emma is due to give birth to their first child on the race start date, and he will be staying ashore.

So the knock-on of today is that the man behind the new Pindar may now never sail a single race on her.