Team Adventure's accident in the early stages of her attempt on Serge Madec's long-standing transatlantic record has been investigated by the boat's design team and the report follows
Skipper Cam Lewis set out from New York on 10 August with a crack crew including multihull supremo Laurent Bourgnon onboard the 105ft (32m) maxicat Team Adventure. Their attempt on Serge Madec’s increasingly impressive record time of 6d, 13h, 3m 32s ended abruptly at 2330 when Team Adventure’s port bow collided with an unidentified object at 28 knots in thick fog, smashing the port crash box and shearing the structure just aft of the forward beam.
Lewis and his crew were unharmed and managed to limp back to Vinalhaven in Maine where co-designer and builder Yann Penfornis of the Gilles Ollier design team began his inspection.
“The very violent shock between Team Adventure and an unidentified object (driftwood, container, block of ice) caused considerable damage to the maxi catamaran. The impact tore the port bow in the region of the crash box and at the waterline. The boat then bounced over the object and the port hull broke in two, just behind the attachment point of the forward beam.
“The 4-5 metre long piece of bow – now loose – then damaged the carbon attachment points of the forward beam that joins the two hulls and absorbs the traction of the main forestay. The object then hit the daggerboard that broke flush with the hull. The daggerboard casing was pushed in under the shock.
“After analysis and expert assessment, the boat is considered repairable and we are researching the best technical solutions to bring the maxicat back up to scratch. She should be shipped to a yard in Southern Europe (Multiplast has too much work on at the moment) where we will be supervising the repair.
The following repairs have been recommended:The supply of a port hull mould made by Multiplast, to replace a piece 10.25 m longThe repair of the forward beam and the construction of a daggerboard casing from the original mouldThe replacement of the martingale and the shrouds in composite cableThe overall check-up of the platform and the mast by ultrasound, even though on first sight nothing has moved
Team Adventure should be sailing again in February 2002 and continue her pursuit of records. Lewis has never been one for sparing the horses and charging blind through fog at 28 knots is extremely risky – an inevitable trade of safety for speed when attempting to break records.
Penfornis has no particular answers but prior to The Race, lack of funds forced Lewis to abandon his research into forward-looking radar. This could be the key to safe fast passage making in poor visibility and has obvious trickle-down benefits for anyone making short-handed inshore and offshore passages.