The Maxi crew head north for better sea and wind conditions in order to lift the daggerboard and evaluate damage

After running into an ‘unidentified floating object’ early Thursday morning (read previous story here), Pascal Bidegorry and his men had to head North for a while, in order to reach better sea and wind conditions to lift the daggerboard out of its case and evaluate the extent of the damage.

The operation, which took about three hours, showed that the impact tore 2.20m of the submerged part and confirmed the disappearance of the crashbox. Brought back on deck, the daggerboard currently takes full attention from the Maxi Banque Populaire V crew, which is doing everything possible with the means available on board to get back to normal racing on this Jules Verne Trophy.

Pascal Bidegorry explained the operation on the phone this morning: “At night, we arrived in an area allowing us to lift the daggerboard without too much difficulty. The handling took us nearly three hours during which we lied off. Emmanuel Le Borgne took the ‘benefit’ of it to dive under the Maxi Banque Populaire V to assess possible damage onto the rudder blades and hull bottoms. There is nothing serious on those matters. Once the dagg on the deck, we found out that there is a missing piece of roughly 2.20m. The shock was so intense that it broke the structural bar of the dagg. We are currently trying to cut out the end of it, which is reduced to shreds. However the mission is not that simple at all with the few tools we have. We are using a hacksaw and a drill. Once cut, we will study the possibility to stratify it.  Our objective is to shut the lower part of it to make it waterproof. Otherwise, it would continue to delaminate with speed.”

A lot of work is expected for the next 24 hours, during which the Maxi Banque Populaire V will have to sail at a reduced pace.

“We are sailing under Solent with six knots of wind, and what is sure is that all this does not help us gaining time! We hope we will able to lift the gennaker fast enough but for now we need it to steady the dagg. We will do everything to succeed in this approach. We will move forward, hour by hour, trying to relaunch this Maxi Banque Populaire V history in this Jules Verne Trophy. We will make the appropriate decision once we have tried everything to resume on our progress around the world with normal navigation and safety conditions. But for now, we carry on and facing the events, I tell myself that I am very fortunate to sail with a highly united crew who do not hesitate to roll up its sleeves in adversity!”

So, difficult times lie ahead for Pascal Bidégorry and crew. Activity looks intense at sea, but in this 13th day of racing, the Maxi still leads by 195 miles on the timetable. The race continues.

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