Brayshaw aiming to beat the fleet to La Rochelle ready for Leg 4

Artemis waves

Just a few hours into Leg 3 of the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro, British Rookie Hugh Brayshaw was forced to retire after his forestay snapped aboard Artemis 23.

Racing along in around 20 to 25 knots along the northern coast of France, Brayshaw was enjoying the fast upwind conditions, his Figaro jumping over waves as the boat took the tide on the nose. 

Settling in for a long night at the helm rock dodging in the brisk conditions, Brayshaw heard a loud bang. Slowing down the boat, he saw the lost tension in jib and radioed the Race Committee about the damage to his forestay. 

Now on his way back to Lézardrieux in Brittany for the Artemis Offshore Academy shore team to assess the damage, Brayshaw will need to repair the boat and head south if he’s to beat the fleet to La Rochelle, ready for Leg 4. 

At present the skipper is unsure as to the cause of the damage, right now putting it down to unforeseeable wear and tear following bad weather on legs one and two – something that would not have been spotted by the eagle eyed Academy preparateurs. 

Dialling in on his way up river to the port, Brayshaw reported:

“I’d been blasting along upwind for about 10 to 15 minutes and everything was going ok. I was making small gains on the boats and settling in for a long night of upwind sailing. 

Suddenly I heard a huge bang and could see my forestay had gone. I could see I had no tension in the jib, and I wasn’t really sure what to do or what was going to happen next. I slowed the boat down and radioed the Race Committee. 

I’m still unsure as to why the forestay broke, I didn’t set the boat up any differently and the lines weren’t any tighter than usual. It just snapped. At the moment I’m just guessing it’s wear and tear, but I don’t know. Hopefully we’ll know why once we get on land. 

It’s really annoying not to be able to race because of something that has broken, but I’m fit and well and ready to go. It’s really frustrating. I had a really nice three days in Paimpol and was looking forward to the start. 

When the forestay snapped I was sailing in about 20 to 25 knots of wind, wind against tide. The boat was jumping around a bit, but we’ve had worse conditions on other legs – bigger waves and bigger winds. 

The next thing for me is to decide about whether to get to La Rochelle or not. Right now I’m disappointed and it’s hard not to think that fate has dealt my cards and I should see out the race as a spectator and helping the others. The other side of me is frustrated and wants to make it to La Rochelle and be on the start line to see the race through to the end. I’ve already looked at the forecast and a straight delivery would be faster that the race fleet – but it depends how long it will take to repair the boat. 

It is a really rubbish way to start and end a leg. But on the bright side, I’ll have no major sleep deprivation if I do make it to La Rochelle and I will get to sleep in a hotel bed tonight! The guys in the fleet have got a tough time of it ahead of them at Ushant with the tides and the rocks in the darkness. 

I’ll get the verdict once on land, if and when I can leave for La Rochelle.”

Leg 4 starts from La Rochelle on Wednesday.