A collision with a UFO, the stress associated with any lift-out
“We were making 30 knots, which is up there for a collision, but it is still our natural ‘cruising speed’ aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. We felt the initial impact on the daggerboard and then a fairly violent second hit around the rudder on the central hull. It all happened very quickly and it’s always complicated identifying the cause, but the impact sounded hard and it was a firm material,” explained Charles Caudrelier, one of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s two skippers, on his return to the dock.
At speeds like these, collisions with UFOs (unidentified floating objects) are rarely without damage unfortunately… With the impact, the rudder stock on the central hull of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s aft section, was severed. This damage led to the loss of the appendage along with structural damage around the latter. As such, before they could set a course for Lorient, the crew had to make the Maxi secure and deal with the minor water ingress.
Aiming to make the start of the Fastnet Race
In light of these unforeseen events and despite the frustration written all over the faces of the two skippers of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and all the members of Gitana Team, the five-arrow team knows that action is the best possible reaction. In this way, as soon as the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild made it back to the dock in the Kéroman base, the team wasted no time in getting down to work. The first job is to get a more accurate assessment of the true extent of the damage before they can work out how to organise the repair operation for the coming days and their upcoming needs on site.
“This kind of mishap is never pleasant but unfortunately we’re all too aware that we run the risk of collision when we’re sailing. It’s something that’s always on your mind whenever you get out on the water. There’s damage to the boat and the stern section of the central hull where the rudder is located in particular. We’ll have to lift the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild out of the water in the coming days. We’d planned to complete our qualifier for the Jacques Vabre and get some more time on the water… but that’s just the way it is! We’re going to have to adapt to the new schedule brought about by this damage. That’s life with offshore racing projects but the good news is that we should be back in action to take the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race in early August.”
First though, Gitana Team will be embroiled in a race against the clock to ensure that the crew is quickly back in training and can put this bad memory behind them.