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Skandia Breaks Mast 150 Miles From Hobart Finish

Skandia breaks its mast 150 miles from finish

At approximately 2.30am whilst under A2 spinnaker, sailing off Bicheno on the Tasmanian east coast with 150 miles to go, Skandia's mast broke between the third spreader and the forestay.

The mast is still standing and bowman Casey Smith has been up four times to tie the rig down and secure all pieces. The spinnaker, which wrapped itself around the keel, has now been retrieved and the boat is sailing under jury rig with a storm sail, still heading for the finish line averaging 6 knots.

"I guess we were about 15 miles from City Index Leopard, doing 22 knots when we had a small broach, the spinnaker flogged twice and we heard the horrific crunch of carbon fibre as the mast snapped," said Grant Wharington, sounding tired and disappointed.

Peter 'Spike' Doriean was at the helm.

"We have managed to stabilise the rig now and when the sun comes up we plan to change up to a number 4 headsail," said Doriean.

"Of course we are all extremely disappointed and frustrated, ¬particularly given we were doing so well from a handicap perspective at the time. A handicap win was the goal for us this year but that's all history now."

This is Wharington' 20th Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race and his relationship with what he calls the 'Great Race' has been tested on more than one occasion. Wharington sold his house to build this yacht which won line honours in 2003, but it was all but destroyed in Bass Strait in 2004. He and his crew went on to rebuild her and claim a podium spot in 2005 and 2006, striking trouble in the latter with a broken canard.

After expressing his disappointment, Wharington once again showed his dedication and never-say-die attitude.

"By the way, we are still going to finish the race," said Wharington.

"We haven't retired and intend to make it to Hobart just as soon as we can. We will see you then!"


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