TJV skipper Kip Stone reports from the Bay of Biscay on Artforms' diversion to Lorient on the west coast of France

TJV skipper Kip Stone reports from the Bay of Biscay on Artforms’ diversion to Lorient on the west coast of France, following the discovery of a split in the mainsail. He and Merfyn Owen are currently in Lorient assessing the situation.

We’re 160 nautical miles from the west coast of France and, I’m sorry to say, we’re headed in that direction. This afternoon, with a small but hard-earned lead in our class, our mainsail split a few feet down from the top. After determining we were unable to make any sort of repair that would stand up to 4,000 miles of hard ocean racing, Merf and I agreed that our best option was to head to Lorient to pick up our old mainsail.

Needless to say, this is a disappointing setback, especially after so much effort was put into getting ready for this race. Once again, Tim Sadler had the boat meticulously prepared – better than ever – and Caroline Kurrus and the rest of the team looked after all the shore side details, no small task.

However, when the gun goes off these boats are pushed hard, and it’s only a matter of time before the weak links in the systems start to make themselves known. After 25,000 nautical miles, we’ve dealt with our fair share of them but up until now, none have slowed us down too much, especially on the race course – a testament to the huge amount of energy and effort poured into this project by so many talented people.

In a matter of hours, we hope to have this setback behind us and be back on our way, hopefully with a few lessons learned. In the meantime, we’re getting some rest and compiling the list of the things that need to be done before we’re back on the water chasing our competitors to Brazil.

Kip Stone