On January 1st, indeed, Conrad contacted his technical team to say that the primary structural forestay had disconnected at the bottom, taking the sail with it with 50-60knots at the time it happened. This forestay is very important to keep the mast up and the axis keeping it attached is gone for an unknown reason.
The sail had not unfurled when that happened but with the gusts, it quickly did and the boat was pinned on its side in a gust. Foresight Natural Energy spent a few long hours on its side with high risks of losing the mast given the force put on the mast with the water on the big sail. Conrad was ready, drysuit and harness, to try to go on deck but the conditions were too dangerous to get out so he had to wait for the biggest part of the storm to pass. He currently has the sail shredding itself in the wind as a flag from the top of the mast but the risk of dismasting has reduced. He managed to get out to put a piece of 12mm dyneema as a supplementary stay from mast head to bowsprit and has 2 other lower forestays in place and a triple reefed main.
He has been waiting for the wind to die and the sea to calm to climb the mast, pull the stay close to the mast, clear the sail and the put the cable back. This is a very big job and the weather needs to be a lot calmer for Conrad to do it in safe conditions.
Conrad has made a temporary fix, re-attaching his flailing forestay to the bow of his Foresight Natural Energy using a lashing which he managed to secure despite 50kt winds and huge seas. Some 1300 miles west of Cape Horn, Colman has been making slow, but steady progress to the north east this Tuesday afternoon after the most challenging period of his race yet. The pin which secures the primary forestay is reported to have been lost during a vicious storm between Sunday and Monday. When the forestay broke free his headsail quickly unfurled and the 34 year old Kiwi-American’s boat was held on its side for several hours in huge seas and violent gusts of over 60kts. “He currently has the sail shredding itself in the wind as a flag from the top of the mast but the risk of dismasting has reduced. He managed to get out to put a length of 12mm dyneema as a supplementary stay from mast head to bowsprit and has 2 other lower forestays in place and a triple reefed main,” his shore team reported earlier today. The exhausted skipper told Race Direction that there came a point where he had just closed himself inside the boat and left it to take care of him. He has been recovering since. Colman is reported to have a replacement pin which he will try to replace when the winds reduce sufficiently. This was no simple task.
Colman plans to further reinforce the lashing which he has in place securing the forestay before carefully bringing his rig back up to working tension. He continues to sail slowly NW and will rest again. Only once he has done so will the skipper of Foresight Natural Energy resume his E'ly course towards Cape Horn 1800 miles away.