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Record attempt ends with capsize


FEB. 19 — At 11:43 a.m. on Sunday, French sailor and skipper of Groupama 3 Franck Cammas notified the shore crew that Groupama 3, a 105-foot maxi trimaran, had capsized in the Indian Ocean, according to a press release.

“The leeward broke in two, leading to the breakage of the two beams and then the subsequent capsize,” said Cammas in the recording to the shore crew. “The crew is all together, taking refuge inside the central hull of Groupama 3. None of the 10 crew are injured.”

The group had a fine start on Jan. 24 as they set off from Lizard Point, England, to take the 21,600-mile voyage around the world and past the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, Cape Leewin and Cape Horn. They were about 85 miles from the port of Dunedin in New Zealand with a day’s lead after 24 days at sea over Bruno Peyron’s time, the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, according to the release. But as they began to hit 16- to 20-foot seas with winds averaging 30 knots, the trimaran got away from them.

The New Zealand Search and Rescue authorities are calling the incident a “textbook” case, according to a recent report by the local TV station in New Zealand. Once they were winched to safety at approximately 1:30 p.m., the crew blamed structural failure in one of the yacht’s hulls, causing strain on the mast that forced the vessel to flip into the water.

The crew plans on organizing themselves quickly to retrieve the boat and continue on their mission, according to the report.

— Elizabeth Ellis