Dee Caffari and Nigel King lose struggle to save Aviva's spinnaker in 35kts of wind 7/11/07

Gear failure on the Open 60 Aviva has forced Dee Caffari and Nigel King to apply the brakes while competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Late yesterday afternoon while tearing along in 35 knots of wind the bucket (part of the squeezer system that sits at the top of the mast ready to be pulled down over the spinnaker when it is dropped) collapsed leaving the sail half squeezed.

King commenting on what happened said: “We couldn’t get it up or down and we were stuck in 35 knots of wind. We had to try and do a conventional drop which is pretty hard with only two people onboard and by the time we got it down, which took more than two hours, it had been torn apart and was in three pieces.

“It happened at the end of the day and by the time we got it down and got the boat sailing again it was dark so we didn’t realise how much damage was done. When we got going again, there was so much wind we couldn’t get on the foredeck. We tried to go forward to mend the block and the tack line which were also damaged but we were underwater all the time and it was too dangerous.”

“We are hoping we’ll not need it again in the race but there’s not much we can do about it. We have to make the best of what we have left.

“It’s a big sail to lose because it has such a big wind range so we are pretty disappointed but it is certainly not a reason for not pushing hard and trying to get a good result.”

Caffari and King are currently in 11th place, with only one of the older generation boats ahead of them (Britain’s Sam Davies onboard Roxy in 8th).