Olivier de Kersauson's new mast is stepped and he's ready to leave, while Bruno Peyron is in a fight against time for a repair

In a surprising reversal of fates, Olivier de Kersauson stepped a replacement mast on his trimaran Géronimo yesterday and was preparing to leave on a Jules Verne attempt just as Bruno Peyron was returning to the Multiplast yard in Vannes after breaking the top of his maxi-catamaran’s mast.

De Kersauson lost the top of his mast last year in a similar incident which seems technically unrelated. He was preparing to leave behind Peyron’s Orange, but now the roles are reversed will be going alone. “I am completely satisfied with the performance of the Geronimo crew,” he commented. “In the space of a single day, they have managed to step the new mast on the trimaran, rig the sails, remove the engine, bow thruster and propeller, not to mention installing the generator set.

“We have loaded our supplies and were ready to cast off this evening. The weather window is very good and I have decided to take the opportunity. That’s why we will be leaving Brest sometime between Saturday and Monday, because I never cast off on a Friday.”

De Kersauson will set sail 24 hours before crossing the line between Ushant and the Lizard to allow time for his crew to make any final adjustments and to get the trimaran in racing trim.

Now it’s Bruno Peyron who will have to race to find the cause of, and a solution to, his broken mast. He hoped to have the mast craned out at Multiplast this morning, but winds were still too high and it will have to wait until tomorrow. Only then will designer and builders begin to get a fuller picture of what went wrong and come up with a solution that might put Orange back in the chase.

“We have already tried to get ahead a little by viewing digital photos and the video of the damaged part,” said Peyron at a press conference today. “We can’t leave any stone left unturned and for the moment we’re comparing our impressions – that’s to say those of the sailors and those of the professionals from Multiplast.

“For the moment we can think about the parts that we can see. What we can say is that with composites, everything is repairable. So within the next few hours we need to take stock and envisage the different solutions. Then we need to organise the tooling, the men and the materials. At the worst, we’ll have to remake the whole section [the four metres between the truck and the hounds] but I think that on first impressions it looks to be repairable by zones.”