Hull damage forces Roberto Aversano to abort Dakar-Guadaloupe Atlantic route record attempt 9/5/07

Roberto Aversano aboard the 20ft, hi-tech One Shot Alfa Spider catamaran has been forced to abort his attempt at the Dakar-Guadaloupe Atlantic route record.

Thirty-five year old Aversano, sailing the Yves Loday and Reg White-designed cat set sail yesterday on the 2,550 nautical miles record attempt but last sailing at a speed of between 15-20 knots in a 25 knot wind there were two loud bangs from under the right hull and the craft came to an abrupt halt. Following a diving inspection Aversano found that a large wood trunk, floating on the surface and wrapped in a piece of fishing net, had wedged itself between the keel and the rudder, with the net snagged around the rudder.

Aversano then returned to the water with a knife and freed the craft from the netting, only to notice that the hull had been holed in two places. Back on board he realised he had suffered a deep gash on the back of his right hand, probably due to the movement of the hull in the waves. With no choice in the matter the skipper from Sardinia had to carefully head to shore without shipping too much water.

Commenting Aversano said: “I’m angry because four years of work and sacrifice for myself and for the entire team haven’t been properly rewarded just because a tree trunk, instead of washing up ashore, decided to get between my catamaran and the sea. I should actually consider myself lucky to have had this accident happen just a few hours from shore and not in mid-ocean, where everything would have been more complicated.

The damage to the craft is serious but reparable, and the damage to my hand is secondary. The safety systems I had aboard allowed me to manage the situation without running major risks. In the hours to come I’ll make a precise estimate of the damage and the repair time needed, the only sure thing being that I’m going back out on the ocean, because I think fate owes me one and I deserve another chance to face this challenge, and I’m certainly not going to wait another four years for it.”