Sailing: Tibbs' yacht dismasted in heavy seas

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The Independent Online
A new mast and rigging was being shipped to New Zealand last night after a yacht in the amateur-crewed BT Challenge was dismasted on the second leg of the round the world race.

Chris Tibbs' Concert saw the 85-foot mast break above the first "spreaders", the cross trees through which the wire rigging runs to hold up the mast. None of the 14 crew was injured, and with 20 feet of the mast remaining it should be possible for the crew to fix a jury rig and set some sail.

The yacht is 1,500 miles south and east of the Chatham Islands, and 420 miles from its destination, Wellington, where it should arrive by 31 December. It has taken on 120 gallons of diesel from competitor Motorola and plans to take on more fuel from Time & Tide today.

Tibbs cut away the top section to prevent it doing any further damage, and saved the middle section and the sails. The accident occurred in near gale-force winds and heavy seas, and the fact that the yacht was on starboard tack may have accelerated the fatigue.

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