Josh Hall’s Gartmore hit the bricks during the prologue sail in Boston Harbour, before the start of the fifth leg of the EDS Atlantic Challenge

Gartmore’s colourful livery was augmented yesterday by an embarrassed shade of red. At the start of the prologue race in Boston Harbour, Hall started well and charged off through a parade of tugs on one of his trademark flyers. The move was paying off handsomely until Gartmore lurched to an abrupt halt at the edge of Deer Point.

A RIB pulled her clear of the bank after a few minutes but Gartmore’s appetite for racing was gone. She headed back to the dock where co-skipper Javier Sanso and navigator Paulo Manganelli were in no mood to discuss the matter with a lively press contingent. The boat will be hauled out and checked for damage.

Kingfisher, skippered in Ellen’s absence by Nick Moloney, zipped around the track to win ahead of Mike Golding’s Ecover with Andrea Scarabelli’s Fila, forestays restored, third. AlphaGraphics, just about recovered from the third leg, were fourth.

The start of the fifth leg is scheduled for tomorrow when Sill Plein Fruit will hopefully be on the startline with a hastily repaired mast. This leg will be predominantly off the wind, bringing the Finot designs Ecover, Fila and Gartmore right into contention.

While Sill and Kingfisher excel upwind, they are no slouches off it. Sill’s 24-hour solo monohull distance record, set three days before the end of the Vendée, is testament to her pace and skipper Roland Jourdain’s abilities.