Bruno Peyron and the crew of Orange began their attempt on the Jules Verne record just shy of noon GMT today and ended it abruptly 30 minutes later when the top of the big cats mast snapped off about 30 inches from the top.
The boat was flying its “medium gennaker” at the time of the incident and the wind was out of the Northeast at 28kts. Immediately after the mast top broke, all sails were lowered to prevent further damage.
This enforced delay may turn out to be a boon for speed sailing fans. As repairs delay Orange, the crew of Olivier de Kersuasons immense trimaran Geronimo are close to being ready to go after similar mast damage during early sea trials. There had been discussion between the two camps about starting together but Peyron had decided that todays weather was simply too promising to ignore.
Orange is headed back to Vannes, France, where the Multiplast yard is located, for damage assessment. Peyron and crew plan on entering the harbor on Friday mornings fair tide. A press release from the shore crew indicates that repairs will be made quickly so that Orange can re-start the attempt as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Back in the World of Monohulls–
Zephyrus V is nearing completion at McConaghy yard in Australia. Designed by Reichel/Pugh, the 86-foot, carbon/Nomex uber-sled is slated for launching sometime this spring. There are actually two R/P sleds on the ways at McConaghy but no ones talking about who commissioned the second.
Team Dennis Conner is spending Thursday conducting crew drills off Long Beach, sailing their trial horse, USA-54, the old Abracadabra. Reached during practice today, helmsman Ken Read said that everything was going well. The team is keeping mum about whether theyve had a chance to sail the recently completed USA-66. “Were just keeping that information to ourselves right now,” said Read.
Somebody should tell those guys down on the Hauraki Gulf that the races dont truly begin until October. OneWorld and Victory Challenge went at it hard on the start line at the beginning of Round Robin 2 of the tune-up event called the Americas Cup International Regatta. First OneWorld hit Victory Challenges leeward side during a luffing match in pre-start. As the gun sounded, Victory Challenge was over the line and had to re-start. During that maneuver, OneWorld shut them out at the boat end and was struck by the Swedish boat. The penalties had nullified one another but the maneuvering left the Swedes dead in the water and OneWorld sailed away, winning by 32 seconds.
Meanwhile, the boys in black are showing the new kids how the game is played. Team New Zealand, sailing the boat that successfully defended the Cup in the last go-round, savaged the promising British challenger with a two-minute, six-second victory in Round Robin 2. Kiwi helmsman Dean Barker then beat the Victory Challenge team around the track after using superior boat handling to maul the Swedes on the starting line.
On the last race of the day, the highly touted but under performing British team finally got the victory theyve been waiting for since the series began on Monday, beating OneWorld by five seconds.
For more commentary and results, http://www.lvcup.com4