Grundig, the radical 66-foot flier, has dropped out of this years Sydney Hobart after flying off a wave at speed and suffering major de-lamination in the bow. Shortly after the mandatory 9:00 pm radio sked on Thursday, the fleet heard Grundig transmit a Pan Pan distress call, indicating that the yacht was in trouble but not in immediate danger. An hour later, owner Sean Langman used a satellite phone to contact an Australian yachting magazine, Sail World, telling them that the crew had immediately dropped sails after the incident and began stuffing foam from the bunks into the cracks in the hull.
“It was like hitting concrete¿” said Langman. “We were doing everything we could to slow the boat but we came off a giant wave and pancaked.”
The temporary repairs helped staunch the flow of water and Langman has since withdrawn the Pan Pan and is motoring the boat slowly into the Australian port of Eden.
In other Sydney Hobart news, the Volvo 60 Tyco has been disqualified from the Sydney Hobart race after missing a mandatory radio check-in. The check-in, off Green Cape, just south of Eden, was designed to force all skippers to check the condition of their equipment and crew immediately before entering Bass Strait.
The race committee said Tyco failed to comply with a sailing instruction when it reported in seven minutes outside the allowed time of one hour after passing the check-in latitude of 37 degrees 15 minutes south. Tycos Press Relations Officer, Elsa Butler, reports that the crew was sailing in rough conditions at the time and experiencing technical problems. Butler also says that the crew felt that they had complied with the rules.
According to the latest sked, Tyco was only two miles behind illbruck entering Bass Strait. The Volvo 60s were leading the Hobart-bound fleet with Team News Corp in the lead. Nicorette was close behind the 60s, as was Grundig until she crashed and burned.
John Kalbetzers Sydney 62, Bumblebee 5, was leading the fleet on handicap as of the last position report late Thursday evening. Conditions in the Bass Strait were rough and windy for the leaders but the forecast calls for a progressive lightening, good for the speedsters, not so good for the smaller boats.