Barcelona World Race favourites are out, and what's going on with these wingmast failures?


What a crying shame. Vincent Riou and Seb Josse’s PRB lost the top of her rig this morning and the favourites in Barcelona World Race are out.

The top 3m of their wingmast broke off (pictured right) when they were running downwind in 25 knots of wind and reportedly ‘crashed into a wave’. The pair are 630 miles from Cape Town and heading north.

The race rules allow them to make repairs and rejoin the race, but I doubt they’d want to since they were out to win. Anyway, in the meantime, they’ve got a big depression with 40 knots gusting to 60 on the way, so they will have plenty on.

What is it with these wingmasts? PRB has been dismasted once already last year, Brit Air just lost her wingmast in the Transat Ecover BtoB and Pindar’s has tumbled twice this season, with rumours abounding that Pindar are going legal on Southern Spars for an alleged cock-up on the design and build.

Time was when tube failure was a real rarity; it was nearly always the failure of a rigging component that brought it all down. It’s not quite so rare now, and I wonder if PRB’s carbon mast tube will prove to have been the weakest link?