Emma Richards recalls how the cockpit drain hose blew off, filling Pindar with 3,000 litres of water and killing the electrics

Emma Richards explains how flooding precipitated the electrical problems that forced her and co-skipper Mike Sanderson to retire from the TJV in this press release issued when they reached Brest this afternoon:

“It is a massive disappointment, particularly because in all the races I have competed in over the past four years with Pindar we have only had one previous retirement. However, the point of acquiring the new boat is to try and win races, and due to all the problems we have had on-board, which started with the failure of the wind instruments, we are just not in a position to compete in this race.

“When we saw the weather forecast before the start on Saturday we joked that we had about a 50/50 chance of surviving the first four days, and unfortunately, that has proved to be the case. As our wind instruments weren’t working we didn’t know for certain the strength of the wind, but we were clearly sailing in boat breaking conditions. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems crazy that the multihulls were delayed until Wednesday but it was deemed okay to send us out there.

“We obviously could have carried on without our wind instruments, but early last night our situation got much worse when the cockpit drain hose blew off. This meant the cockpit water was draining into the boat rather than into the sea. I reckon we had about 3,000 litres of water in the boat at one stage which got into the electrics and knocked out our auto-pilot.

“As a result, last night we were sailing with no electric compass and we were having to steer off a star and a hand-held GPS that we got from our emergency kit. There was no way of mending the electronics while at sea, and we would not be able to do it quickly enough on land to keep us within any chance of a podium place, so we have decided that we will concentrate on getting these issues properly resolved ready for the Transat and other races next year. But we have only had about half an hour’s sleep between us over the past two days, so first of all we will have some rest and a hot meal.”

Andrew Pindar, Chairman of The Pindar Group, commented: “During Around Alone Emma sailed over 28,000 miles on her own, which tells you all you need to know about her determination. Once more, she would have liked to continue in this race, but without any wind instruments and navigational equipment it is too dangerous, and so the only course of action was for them to retire.

“We are obviously extremely disappointed as Emma, Mike and the shore team had done such a good job in preparing what is now one of the fastest Open 60s on the water. But we will not dwell on this, and instead, will begin looking including the Transat and the Quebec-St Malo.

“Whether in business or in sailing, the mark of a good team is responding positively in times of adversity, and that is exactly what we intend to do.”