After a good start to the Transat Jacques Vabre, Morgan Lagravière and Nicolas Lunven were forced to turn back home last night. The cause was a crack in the hull at the starboard foil that generated a leak. It is impossible to continue the race in this condition. Contacted this morning, the Safran duo are headed for Brest where they are expected as night falls.
On Monday night at 2020hrs (French time), Morgan Lagravière contacted the race director to tell him about the damage on Safran and announce his decision to head to Brest. Joining the official race radio this morning, Lagravière detailed the nature of the damage and the circumstances in which it occurred: “The foil area is damaged on the starboard side,” Lagravière said. “The damage has spread around the area and water is seeping into the boat. We quickly tacked to get the damaged section of the hull out of the water. At the time of the incident, the conditions were intense but not extreme. There were 25-knots of wind and 3-4 metres of swell. The sea was not particularly rough and we didn’t hear a particular sound.”
Lagravière and Lunven safe
At 1000hrs on Tuesday morning, Lagravière and Lunven were 150 miles from Brest and progressing at a speed of 13 knots. Therefore, they are expected in the Breton port at the start of the night. “We’re on starboard tack (the wind coming from the right) and we’re proceeding on a good angle to reach the coast,” Lagravière reassured. “A little bit of water is sometimes coming into the boat when the waves hit the hull upwind, but overall, the situation is not getting worse and we’re safe.” Despite what must be a major disappointment to them, the Safran duo can be satisfied with a good start to the race. Morgan Lagravière: “Good speed, fluid manoeuvres, coherent choice of sails, real cohesion in the duo…We were in the hunt.” For Safran, like for two other competitors in the IMOCA class – Maître Coq (Jérémie Beyou/Philippe Legros) and Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse/Charles Caudrelier), the race will be unfortunately too short. For Safran’s part, it will not be until they are back on land that they can accurately analyse the extent of the damage, find out why it happened and fix it. “For now, we remain focused on our goal of getting the boat to port without any additional damage,” Lagravière concluded.