Ecover escapes with little damage after a collision with a submerged object during the Defi Atlantique

The Defi Atlantique has been action-packed in the last 24 hours with Virbac dismasting in the early hours see news story here, boat positions changing every schedule and Mike Golding rang this morning to report that he had hit a large unidentified floating object earlier this morning.

Golding was down below when the Ecover struck the submerged object, which resulted in a bit of damage to the bow. The object also hit a dagger board and then the keel. Golding has since had the dagger board up and confirmed that it was not damaged. “Fortunately there is no big damage, as the bow is designed to take an impact of this sort, so this shouldn’t slow me down too much. Can’t find any water in the boat, there’s nothing obvious and all the foils seem to be there. I can’t tell if the keel is twisted, but if there was anything major, I’d know about by now. There was a big bump, bump, bump as it hit the bow, then dagger board, then the keel. There was lightening all round and no moon, it was pretty scary.”

During the night Golding had been decreasing his distance to the lead, but hit a light headwind at one stage and stopped completely. Also, he rested for a while during the night, running Ecover on the B&G autopilot, only to wake and discover that the wind had dropped and the boat had borne away from the pre-set course.

Golding rang in this afternoon to see if there was any more news on Jean-Pierre Dick’s dismasting and confirmed: “The whole course is turning upside down! I’m currently pushing back to the east to get into new breeze. I’ve been going a long way round the high, as I thought the ridge was going to go the other way. I’m pushing right now and the breeze is filling in already. I am now getting sucked into this high and can’t do anything about it. I’m having to sail at higher angles, there’s been a bit of a change in the forecast. The weather files have indicated two completely different tactical scenarios of going inside or outside of the high. It puts Alex in a good position, whereas my runway is looking a little blocked for the time-being. PRB has some leverage on me now, but possibly won’t get too much worse now I’ve got some wind.”

Latest positions

1 Vincent Riou, PRB, 1848.6 distance to finish

2 Mike Golding, ECOVER, 1879.9, 31.3 distance to finish

3 Sebastien Josse, VMI, 1937.0, 88.4 distance to finish

4 Nick Molony, Team Cowes, 1967.0, 118.4 distance to finish

5 Alex Thomson, AT Racing, 1987.0, 138.4 distance to finish

6 Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac, 2092.3, 243.7 distance to finish