Friday September 23
It was blowing zero.zero knots this morning but disaster struck Victory Challenge. We were all finishing our 9:15 meeting and we heard huge crashes. As we rushed out of our base area we saw Victory Challenge with their mast in 4 pieces draped over the containers near Prada. It seems that they had been backing their boat out of their base area with the travel lift and had not detached the masthead halyard from the container and had essentially just inverted the mast and drove the boat out from under it. The ironic part is that we all now, ALWAYS, attach our masthead halyards to the containers to prevent the disaster that happened in Marseille when a storm blew the boats out of their cradles.
It is really sad for so many reasons. It was human error and as “Billy” here said – you would never wish that on your worst enemy. Also, this was most likely their best mast – and all of our ‘second’ masts struggle to fit into the Version 5 rule. Finally they have pulled out all of the stops for this regatta. They spent extra time and money to ship the SWE 63 from Valencia because she performed well in Valencia and SWE 73 wasn’t as impressive in Sweden. They have been here longer than anyone else and are really a solid team. It does show you that one minute of being casual with these boats opens the possibility for disaster.