Ricardo Diniz has been forced to abandon his 6.5m racer Gelpeixe after collding with an Unidentified Floating Object

Ricardo Diniz has been forced to abandon his solo transatlantic passage from Lisbon, Portugal to Salvador, Brazil after colliding with an Unidentified Floating Object. The 24 year-old Portuguese sailor left Lisbon last Saturday and was halfway to Madeira when the incident occurred in the early hours of Monday 26 November.

Diniz was sailing at eight knots in favourable northerly winds when his Merv Owen-designed and Pembrokeshire College-built Mini 6.5 Gelpeixe hit the UFO, believed to be a container. Diniz investigated as much as the darkness would allow and decided to continue to Porto Santo in Madeira.

The following morning revealed the full extent of the damage. Gelpeixe had lost her port daggerboard and rudder, and suffered damage to her keel. The flexing of the hull had also opened a slight crack in the hull caused by the collision and water was coming in.

On reassessing the situation, Diniz decided the boat was not seaworthy and called for assistance. The Crystal Symphony responded, rescued Diniz from Gelpeixe and took him to Funchal in Madeira. Diniz is now coordinating efforts to retrieve the boat. Any sightings of the bright yellow 6.5m Gelpeixe should be reported to camspring@hotmail.com