Jean Maurel's trimaran Bayer CropScience is the lastest dismasting casualty in the Challenge Mondial Assistance

Bayer CropScience, the Nigel Irens/Bennoit Cabaret-designed trimaran skippered by Frenchman Jean Maurel has been dismasted while competiting in the Challenge Mondial Assistance from Cherbourg to Rimini.

The incident happened at 1000GMT near Cronoton on the south coast of Italy, while she was lying in second place and just 467 miles from the Rimini finish line. The crew are safe and are currently making their way to the Italian coast without assistance. According to a recent radio session with Jean Maurel, it seems that at the time of the dismasting they were sailing upwind in 20 knots of wind under a reefed mainsail and trinquette. The mast fell very suddenly without warning and they have no idea as to the cause at this stage. As the mast fell it pulled off a metre and a half of the starboard float. They have been able to salvage 7m of the mast but the seas proved too big to get the rest of it back.

Fred Dahirel and Jean-Christophe Mourniac were on deck at the time the mast fell with a loud crack before they knew what was going on. Jean commented: “Obviously we’re disappointed but that’s the way it goes.”

Franck Cammes in Groupama still holds the lead followed by Lalou Roucayrol on Banque Populaire in second.