In the small hours of the morning a mere two days from the Leg 4 finish in Newport, The Ocean Race competitor GUYOT Environment has dismasted. All crew are reported to be safe. Co-skippers Robert Stanjek and Benjamin Dutreux were both onboard, as well as Ocean Race veteran Annie Lush and Vendée Globe competitor Sébastien Simon. It’s not yet clear what caused the problem, but dramatic footage from OBR (onboard reporter) Gauthier Lebec shows the team contending with wet conditions and pitch darkness while cutting the mast free.
It is the second dismasting of the leg, with fleet leader Holcim-PRB suffering the same fate just days out from the start in Itajai, Brazil.
As one of the two long north-south legs of the race, Leg 4 straddles several different bands of weather conditions, from the doldrums to the 50 knots that the fleet has seen in this year’s approach to Newport. It may seem like the hard part is over once the fleet is out of the Southern Ocean, but this is actually an unexpectedly challenging stretch of ocean due to the Gulf Stream and the constant vigilance required for variable conditions.
Going into Leg 4, GUYOT Environment had just two points on the scoreboard due to hull delamination early in Leg 3 that forced them to return to Cape Town. After assessments, they retired from the leg.
The double dismasting during this leg is particularly complicated because neither GUYOT Environment nor Holcim-PRB has a spare mast. With most of the IMOCA 60 fleet—and therefore most of the potential replacement masts—across the Atlantic, not to mention Holcim-PRB’s head start on securing one, it’s unclear how soon GUYOT Environment could be back on the racecourse. Already trailing in points, this will likely disappoint hopes for salvaging things on the scoreboard.
This is an evolving story. Check theoceanrace.com for updates.