When the mast breaks and you need fuel

Published on January 23rd, 2022

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race started January 8 for a record fleet 30 boats which set off from the Canary Islands for the 3000nm course to Grenada. Among the anticipated battles was in IRC Zero class with three 50-footers capable of winning the overall title.

But on January 12, the Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER) broke their mast, and while all eight crew were in no harm, the nearest land was back to the start, 800nm east of their position. About three meters of the rig was left, not enough to jury rig much sail power, so their biggest issue was having enough fuel to run the engine.

Black Pearl contacted Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Ponta Delgada in the Azores to request assistance, which resulted in three nearby vessels being alerted, with the m/v Happy Sky agreeing to divert towards Black Pearl.

Less than 24 hours after Delgada received the initial contact from Black Pearl, 28 x 25 litres of fuel were successfully transferred to Black Pearl by m/v Happy Sky.

After Black Pearl left the area under observation by Delgada, the boat was monitored by Search and Rescue Region (SRR) Santa Maria, with reports given every three hours. Black Pearl made landfall in the Canary Islands at El Hierro on the January 16.

Race detailsEntry listTracker

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race started January 8 for 256 sailors from 27 different countries. The record fleet of 30 boats set off from Lanzarote for the 3000nm course to Grenada.

Multihull elapsed record is 5 days, 22 hrs, 46 mins, 03 secs set in 2015 by Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo 3, skippered by Brian Thompson.

Monohull elapsed record is 7 days, 22 hrs, 01 mins, 04 secs set in 2022 by the 100ft VPLP Design/Verdier Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth.

Source: Louay Habib

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