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Foncia Dismast BWR#4

January 27, 2011

Favourite Foncia

One of the race favourites in the Barcelona World Race is heading to Cape Town with broken mast. Crew are safe. Foncia has been in a ding dong battle with Virbac-Paprec (VP3) following a technical stop in Recife, Brazil. Incredibly, and despite the stop, both boats had flown down the South American coast heading south but west of the main fleet to re-establish a commanding lead. Pressure has ultimately broken Foncia. VP3 enters the Indian Ocean first and is now in clear and commanding lead. Still two months of sailing to go, anything can happen! More details on BWR website.

Co-skipper Michel Desjoyeaux is the only man to have won the Vendee Globe Race twice…

Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia: “I don’t have an explanation. When a boat is built, it is built not to break.  At the moment we don’t have the pieces in our hands, therefore it is difficult to know the reasons for this breakage. The two pieces are 24 metres up hung up in the rigging. The sea is too unsettled to take the risk of going up the mast to recover the pieces for the moment.


The sea was commensurate with a low pressure system. It was surely not the sea of the Bay of Quiberon. It was a bit messy with waves of 2-4metres, but the boat is made for these conditions and should be stand them. We did not change the rig in any way for last night and so we can’t understand why it happened.


The sea has evened out a little. We have the equivalent of three reefs in the mainsail and no headsail. We have the equivalent of three reefs in the main we have the wind behind.


In the morning we hit 20 knots surfing, but now we are averaging 12 knots. We should get to Cape Town in four days.
We succeeded in taming the Solent with a rope. And we will wait until it is calmer to tidy up the mainsail. The hull is fine, the front pulpit a little twisted, but that is all. We are under pilot.


There was a crisis situation to manage it with some urgency, we initially tried to gather the bits to make the situation safe. But now the deed is done, and there is no point in wanting for anything. This is not good because this is not what we expected. Now we need to deal with it quietly. We have four days to Cape Town to do that.”

François Gabart (FRA), Foncia:It is inevitable that I am sad. I thought we would go further, but for me it was an extraordinary adventure. The boat does not go further, so that’s that. These are difficult times, it not easy to give up a race, it had to happen to me some time, but not in a race which should last three months. It is hard, it hurts, it is not pleasant to go through, but life is like this. The big moments and the difficult moments on board make appreciating the good times we have had better. I dream of making it round the world and to sail in the south, but to do it all in one fell swoop with Michel Desjoyeaux would have been too easy! But it puts it in perspective, and proves it not easy to make it round the world.

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