This morning's position report and Yachting World talks to Paul Peggs about his dismasting

Day four of the gruelling Mini Transat has brought some changes and good news with the restart of dismasted Briton Paul Peggs. Now most of the boats have rounded Cape Finisterre and will soon be heading south past the coast of Portugal and on towards the race’s only stopover in the Canary Islands off the West African coast.

This morning sees Frenchman Yves Le Blevec take back the lead from fellow competitor Yannick Bestaven. Third is Arnaud Boissierres, and in fourth the first non-French sailor, Briton Simon Curwen. This is an excellent result from Curwen who has reported no damage and has maintained a top five position since the start. Other British compeitors Brian Thompson, Sam Davies, Mike Inglis and Ian Munslow are in 9th, 12th, 14th and 16th respectively, not bad results out of a fleet of 60. However, there have been several instances of gear failure most significantly out of the British Paul Peggs lost his mast on the first night. Paul is now in Bilbao where he has stepped another mast and is just getting ready to set off with enough time to make it to the Canaries before the restart on the 10th October of the second leg to Brazil.

Speaking of the moment his mast came down for the second time during the race (Paul also lost his mast in the ’99 edition of this race) he said

“I was completely shocked, nothing obvious had broken, the mast just folded over on itself at the second spreader”.

Luckily Peggs could still sail with a bit of main which was effectively “like having three reefs in”. He was also able to hoist his storm jib on the staysail halyard, and on the Sunday when it was still blowing quite hard was doing speeds of up to 13 knots on his way to Santander. However Peggs ended up in Bilbao as the last few miles to Santander became upwind and he was going just too slow

“it was just so frustrating, but when I arrived in Bilbao I had so much help from other people it’s just been brilliant”.

Brian Thompson has also suffered gear failure with a shredded masthead spinnaker and electronic problems since the start. However the British favourite is now moving up the fleet. Frenchman Sam Manuard on Tip Top also blew out a spinnaker but is doing very well in 5th. Bernard Sourisse on Callipyge is now officially out of the race as he recieved outside assistance after his dismasting whilst still offshore.

Nathalie Le Pen