Iain Percy's 39 team is dismasted
Iain Percy’s 39 team were dismasted today following a collision between United Internet Team Germany and the Italian team at the first rounding of the weather mark in the second race today.
The collision happened when the German team bore away to duck 39 as the Italians approached the weather mark on starboard.
A dismasting is bad news at any stage, but for Percy’s team this couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“We were on the starboard lay, the Germans tried to duck, their mast came upright and the two rigs clipped. It’s one of those things that happens and I’m certainly not angry,” he said. “Those guys have been great about it, they’ve come round, apologised and offered help. To be honest I feel bad for the helmsman, certainly not angry.
“It’s really frustrating because we jumped massively up on speed and yet we’re still a long way down on our potential. We had a two year old jib up, the halyard wasn’t in the halyard lock so the jib was loose along its luff and yet we were still really competitive.”
Having struggled with financial issues for months, the team was firmly on the back foot at the start of this event and has had to burn the midnight oil for the last couple of nights simply to get the rig to a positioning where a race could even be contemplated. Could the team race again?
“We may race the final day with the old mast but what happens now is really uncertain as it’ll be subject to protest and redress. I guess the first thing is to sort the mess out with the equipment and then sort the mess out with all the official stuff,” he continued.
While the superpowers have a stock of new tubes, Percy’s team has just one new mast and their old one. Could this be used?
“Not really, It’s half the speed and we took quite a lot of equipment out of it when we fitted the new mast, instrument wands, electronics etc.,” he said.
Amid the drama of the dismasting, he, his crewmates and indeed the German team were clearly shocked by the incident and relieved that no one had been injured.
“I honestly think it’s 50/50 that no one is injured or in the morgue,” said Percy. “A piece of diagonal fell down just beside me and went straight through the deck.”
Having nursed their sail plan upwind in the first race while still managing to put on a good performance, keeping the rig in the boat was uppermost in their minds. Having the spar brought down in a collision is surely the cruellest of blows.
How did the German team see the situation?
“We had a very close situation with the whole fleet,” said pitman Jan Schope. “We were going behind 39, the boats were passed already, but unfortunately the rigs had a collision. We are really glad that no-one is injured on 39 or our boat. We will be able to sail tomorrow. We are trying to help [ 39] as much as we can as are other teams, because we like to sail with 12 teams.”
Aside from the illustration of how easy it is to face an early exit from the Cup, the incident highlights just how difficult it is to duck a starboard boat when the angle of convergence is so small. As Schope put it, “Thirty degrees heel angle makes a small America’s Cup boat quite wide and it’s a long way to get around it.”
Elsewhere on the race course today, the Swedes carried on trawling kites at the weather mark, BMW Oracle demonstrated what happens when you apply 15 knots of wind to a stationary Cup boat with the kite set, (spinnaker pole snaps) and the South Africans blew a headsail apart, punctured their mainsail yet still finished the race. All while China Team were trying to make sure they didn’t sink their boat after the bow went down the mine on the downwind leg and didn’t come back up.
Another dull day in Valencia?!
HOT LINKS & TIPS
****** LIVE AUDIO ******
Follow the action live from Valencia
Broadcast starts at 1345 local time (1245 GMT)
To listen to the daily commentary log on to the official site at;
If you’re in town, listen on:
FM 87.8 – Valencia