GUYOT environnement – Team Europe suffered a major setback on the course south during the second leg of The Ocean Race: Despite a light breeze, the large spinnaker burst. The light cloth slapped into the water, got caught on the foil and completely slowed down the black yacht. With a quick rescue operation by the entire crew of Robert Stanjek, Sébastien Simon, Phillip Kaüske and Anne-Clarie Le Berre, the torn spinnaker could be brought back on board. Important for the further legs! Because the number of sails is limited to 11 for the entire race, and the repair may only be carried out with a maximum replacement of 25 percent of the sail. But this way the spinnaker can probably be mended again in Cape Town.
The tear of the spinnaker is nevertheless a great loss for this leg, because the light sail had performed important in the Doldrums and should also be used intensively during the current light wind phase.
Skipper Robert Stanjek recounts the moment of the spinnaker loss on board: “We were sailing under spinnaker at about 15 knots of speed. We were sailing our A2, our big nylon sail, the most fragile one we have on board. I was on off watch sleeping and then we had an alarm. Everybody had to get on deck because the kite broke. We were surprised because it was not that windy. We don’t know why, but the sail tore almost from top to foot. The whole team did a good job to overcome the crisis. We stopped completely and put the boat upwind, then we caught the pieces of sail that were flying around the foil and the big piece that was floating in the water. There was maybe ten per cent of the sail left at the top. We managed to get everything back and not leave anything in the water. We also had to pull the sheets out from under the foil. It took us about 8 or 10 minutes to get everything back on board. A record time. We then set the A3. The team did a great job!”
Looking ahead, it’s clear how painful it is to have to do without the spinnaker: “It’s a shame to lose the sail so early in the leg, especially now because we’re sailing in 6 knots of wind. Our last option didn’t pay off, we will probably lose some ground. But there are still 2500 miles to Cape Town, our motivation is still intact and we will fight until the end.”