The 110 mile offshore race of the Rolex IMS Offshore Worlds has claimed one mast and several sails

The Dutch IMS 50 Exposure, launched only a couple of weeks ago, returned to Valencia yesterday with her carbon mast in two pieces. The spar broke just below the second spreaders early on Thursday morning during the 110 mile ‘long’ offshore race of the Rolex IMS Offshore Worlds in Valencia, Spain.

The incident occurred not during the strong winds of the previous night, but within a few miles of the coast where calms had slowed the leaders. Niek Lamm’s Exposure was sliding downwind fast under spinnaker, closing on the leaders, when the spar snapped. The crew are at a loss to explain the failure and guessed that a runner or backstay tail might have been knocked from its cleat and the shock load caused the spar to fail.

Another casualty was defending champion Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino. Her main split as the breeze piped up from 12-40 knots in a matter of minutes but repairs were effected and they raced on. Throughout the fleet, bowmen were spending up to half an hour at the bow, peeling one sail after another as the pressure increased. Not to do so would risk gear damage and jeopardise their overall chances, as Bribon found out after shredding her second spinnaker.

As IMX-40 Telefonica Movistar skipper Pedro Campos predicted yesterday, if the winds were strong, Alexia would win; If they were weak, their status as smallest boat meant they would win. The wind was strong. “We had a lot more wind than we expected from the forecast, but we coped well with the sail changes,” said Alexia’s tactician Chris Larsen. “There was sometimes a little too much wind for comfort but we didn’t break anything.”

Campos, positioned 25th at the halfway point, pulled out all the stops and finished third overall in Group A on corrected time. With the offshore points double-weighted, Telefonica Movistar now takes the overall lead in Class A. Brava Q8 lies second after a top ten performance offshore, leaving Fernando Leon’s Cam in third after an unspectacular result.

Rolex IMS Offshore Worlds 2001, Valencia
Top three results offshore
1. Alexia (maxi)2. Grefusa III (First 47.7)3. Telefonica Movistar (IMX-40)Class B:1. Salty Dog (IMX-40)2. Ono (Nautatec 42)3. Wind-Exploit (IMX-40)Overall Results after three days
Class A:Telefonica Movistar (IMX-40)2. Brava Q8 (Farr 49)3. Cam (Farr 51)Class B:1. Salty Dog (IMX-40)2. Wind-Exploit (IMX-40)3. Ono (Nautatec 42)