Two of the multihulls competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre Race have reported damage to their boats

Two of the multihulls competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre Race have reported damage to their boats while racing off the Portugese coast in 40 knots of wind today.

Positioned in 10th position at 1400hrs (French Time) 96 miles behind race leader Bonduelle (Le Cam/Caraes), the brand-new multihull of Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini), co-skippered by Franck Proffit was the first to report damage. On the radio chat session at midday she explained what had occurred during a manoeuvre that went wrong. “We were under gennaker and one reef in the mainsail, and the breeze was picking up to 40 knots. So we started to furl the gennaker, but the boat, under mainsail alone, luffed by itself. As a result, the gennaker, which wasn’t totally furled, caught the wind and unravelled, catching round the bowsprit and putting the trimaran into a violent gybe and breaking all the mainsail battens.”

The duo are now trying to get some rest, all sails down and will decide their next move soon. One option is to make a technical stop at Lisbon, another to undertake the repairs at sea.

Banque Covefi (De Broc/Bidegorry), lying in 12th position in the Open 60 multihull fleet, has also suffered in the punishing conditions. All the batteries on board the boat were running down rapidly and so they tried to start the motor but it wouldn’t work. Succeeding to make contact with their shore manager with their Iridium phone only, after much advice they still could not understand the origin of the problem nor make the engine work. To make matters worse, in the 40 knot winds overnight, a piece of the mast track at the very top broke off, causing the top five mainsail battens to break. Impossible to repair in the rough seas, they are currently sailing under Solent at 15 knots, while the others cream along at 25 knots.

The Race Committee have allowed them to make a technical stop at Lisbon, where the trimaran will be tomorrow morning. Although such a setback means that De Broc and Bidegorry won’t easily get back into the multihull fleet, they intend to rally on to Brazil all the same.