Groupamas rigging supplier, the Swiss Carbo-Link, is disappointed about Groupamas mast failure when leading the longest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race VOR only 500 nm before the finishing line. Despite professional support in Itajai, the reasons for the failure are not clear.
On the 4th of April 2012 Groupama 4 lost the mast about 60 miles off the Uruguay Coast and only 500 miles before the finishing line in leading position. Carbo-Link thoroughly regrets the misfortune of the Groupama Team. We sympathizes with the team having to digest this setback, and have great respect for the way the team handled the situation. Fortunately, apart from the cut that Brad Marsh, the bowman on board, sustained there were no other serious injuries.
The exact cause of the mast failure is not clear and will be difficult to find out precisely: A lot of the salvaged pieces were immediately cut and prepared to be used in the manufacturing of the jury rig. Nevertheless, it is in the interest of all the partners involved to find out as much as possible about the causes so that conclusions of this accident can be drawn. Carbo-Link continuously supports the team in the ongoing investigation of the failure and has carried out a thorough evaluation of the cable design and the manufacturing process. No conclusion regarding the initial cause of the failure has so far been found. The next steps involve mechanical testing of some of the remaining cables by an independent institute to verify the strength properties and compare those to the specifications. Carbo-Link is totally convinced that their parts conform with these specifications.
Carbo-Link Owner Andy Winistoerfer and Chief Designer Luke McAllum have been present on site in Itajai to assist in the dressing, preparation and tuning of the replacement mast in preparation of the next leg.
Carbo-Link is proud to continuously support Groupama 4 and wishes the team all the best in the following legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. The last few weeks have stood as a proof of the depth of their characters as men and sailors.