A dramatic but costly day around the cans in Naples

When the media reports stories of a demolition derby, it rarely counts the cost, but the morning after the explosive opening races in Naples, race director Iain Murray was asked to put a value on the day’s damage.

Understandably he was reluctant at first to put a figure on the damage that had resulted in several shore teams working through the night to keep the show on the road. But as he ran through the list of major items the cost of competing in the breeze started to become clear.

The first focus of attention was on Artemis’ wing which, after hitting the water trailing edge first in their spectacular nose dive capsize had been wrecked beyond repair, at least within the timeframe available during this regatta.

“It will take around 200 hours to fix the wing,” said Murray, “so I guess that’s around 20,000 Euros.”

But as the assembled journalists started to suck their teeth in surprise, Murray was quick to put the cost in perspective.

“To be honest we’re more concerned about the onboard camera that fell off their bowsprit, that’s worth 40,000 Euros.

“It’s down there somewhere and if anybody knows where it is we’d like to have it back,” he joked.

Then there was the damage to the Oracle Racing boat skippered by Darren Bundock which had developed a major crack in the deck just by the aft beam. The damage prevented them from competing in the second race of the day and took all night to fix.

Such major repair work comes with a price tag too and while Murray didn’t estimate what this was, most of us started to think in five figure sums.

The damage was believed to have been caused by the punishing short, steep sea state that saw the boat twist, buckle and crash through their way upwind. Certainly some of the superb camera shots of the day illustrated the horrendous twisting that the hulls and beams are subject to.

Among the rest of the fleet there was plenty of work to get the boats ready for racing on the second day.

“I don’t think any of the teams got away unscathed,” continued Murray. “So I guess the total cost could be around 100,000 Euros.”

If you didn’t see the action you may think that this is a ridiculous cost for a day’s around the cans racing, but for those that did, I suspect cost didn’t even cross their minds.

The funny thing is that Team Aleph, who have been forced to pull out of the ACWS having been unsuccessful in raising sufficient funds to take their campaign to the next stage, were having a garage sale of the team’s surplus equipment from their hollow looking team base.

In the absence of an on site AC45 chandlery, the day’s demolition derby couldn’t have been at a better time for a team that wants to empty its containers before the end of the week.

One man’s crisis is another man’s salvation I guess.