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PlayStation Breaks Daggarboard - Withdraws from The RACE

by PayStation media on 15 Jan 2001
Mainsail Repair Succeeds, then Port Daggarboard Shattered

After the port daggarboard was shattered late on Saturday night, Skipper Steve Fossett of the 125' maxi-catamaran PlayStation has advised The RACE officials early this morning that he has reluctantly had to take the decision to withdraw from the 23,000 mile race araound the world.

Key problems with the old 1998-2000 'delivery' mainsail showing serious signs
of wear - and ongoing breakage - coupled with the daggarboard breakage last
night - have lead Steve (after consultation with and fully supported by his
crew) to take the difficult decision not to pursue the RACE into the Southern
Ocean. Here's what happened:

At about 21:40 GMT on Saturday night 13.1.01, maxi-cat PlayStation and her 13
man crew received a jolt as the port daggarboard was shattered and broke off
at the waterline. They had just gotten back up to speed, having spent much of
the day at 2nd reef during rapid repairs to a 3 ft (1m) tear in the mainsail
(at the 1st reef clew) from earlier on Saturday. The sail repair was working
well when the daggarboard incident occurred.

It is not yet known what was struck. Inspection of the remaining part of the
port daggarboard may subsequently point to the cause.

After consultation with the crew, Steve Fossett took the decision to withdraw
from The RACE - The RACE directors were officially advised by e-mail at 0049
GMT on 14.1.01., subsequently confirmed by phone and fax from Steve's RACE
project manager Peter Hogg. Below is the text of Steve's message.

To RACE Directors: 0049 GMT 14.1.01.

'Now it's the daggarboard. Just after we hoisted the Mainsail after a day of
repairs, the port side daggarboard was shattered and broke away. I suppose we
probably could sail around the world with just the starboard daggarboard, but
the real issue is the Sails:

We bought a new set of sails for The Race because we doubted our old sails
were fit to make it around the world. When the new Mainsail and Solent broke
before we got out of the Mediterranean we knew we were in trouble, but we
were game to give it a try with the old sails. Today's repair of the first
reef clew by Nick Moloney looks good, but then the second reef clew looks
like it is starting to fail. We are destined to be struggling with sail
repairs for the rest of the way.

We just aren't prepared to tackle the Southern Ocean.

I laid out my reservations about our continuing in The Race and asked the
crew to tell me what they thought. They have thown their every effort into
this project for months and in some cases years. Some of them would like just
to finish the passage even if we were uncompetitive. I get to make the tough
decisions. Unless the crew could offer a persuasive argument to continue we
would have to turn back.

The crew talked it over and came back to tell me they all supported my
decision. I turned the boat around and we're heading for Miami.

I doubt that it is the way a Skipper is supposed to make a decision, but that
is how it was done on PlayStation.

Steve Fossett - Skipper'

In a further conversation with Mission Control this morning, Steve advised
that all was well onboard and that they would arrive in Miami/Ft Lauderdale
in 10-14 days time. The mood onboard is 'one of disappointment, of course,
but morale is pretty good, considering. We are still very confident in the
boat and her structure - and in her tremendous speed and record-setting

Following replacement of the daggarboard and and refitting of new sails in
Miami/Ft Lauderdale, Steve, PlayStation and crew are now looking at targeting
the Miami-NYC record and the TransAtlantic records - beginning this May.


For additional information, please see:

Project 100 Communications/Steve Fossett Ocean Challenge