Just one day out from Plymouth en route to Newport, RI, Graham Dalton's Hexagon was dismasted in 20 knots of wind

Kiwi singlehander Graham Dalton has suffered a major setback in his campaign to win the Around Alone race which starts from New York on 15 September. Having left Plymouth on 31st July, heading for Newport, Rhode Island on his qualifying sail, the mast broke in 20 knots of wind just 24 hours into the passage and Dalton had to leap out of the way of the falling spar. “It was heading straight for me as I stood at the wheel,” he said. “One of the spreaders grazed me as I leapt for cover.”

His boat, Hexagon, was designed and built specifically for this race and is an evolution of Ellen MacArthur’s Kingfisher, lighter and with a bigger rig. Dalton has already suffered one setback when his qualifying cruise was disallowed by the race Committee, which is why he was setting out solo for Newport.

He headed for Brest under power following the dismasting but is now under tow heading for Hamble where a temporary rig, possibly Kingfisher’s old mast, will be fitted. He is hoping to get his spare mast shipped to Newport from New Zealand in time for the race.