Trimaran crashes out of westabout around the world sailing record

Romain Pilliard and Alex Pella have failed in their attempt to circumnavigate the globe, westabout, in 122 days to break the current world record (against the prevailing winds and currents).

The team ran aground on Use It Again! in Cook’s Bay, after passing Cape Horn, where they’d been sheltering to allow several depressions to pass.

According to a social media statement, Pella – who was in charge of the watch – fell asleep, prior to the incident occurring, a victim of the gruelling month or so at sea.

In the dark, Pilliard and Pella quickly understood that the trimaran was stuck on the rocks. They put on their survival suits, warned the local authorities, the shore team, made the first checks and waited for the first light of day to take a first look at the damage.

The Chilean Navy sent two semi-rigid boats and a tug to get the trimaran out of its situation. A diver confirmed the observations made from inside the boat. According to the statement, the trimaran is well compartmentalised to ensure its safety, and the shock seemed to have been completely absorbed by the crash box. The kelp, an algae particularly present in the area, protected the hull of the boat when it leaned on the rocks at low tide.

The material assessment was initially limited to the almost total destruction of the brion (part located at the front of the central hull) and to supposed damage to the centreboard. The rudders did not appear to be impacted and no leaks appeared during the perfect towing of the Chilean Navy and the delivery to Puerto Williams, under sail, through the Beagles Channel.

The assistance of the Chilean Navy puts an end to the record attempt around the world in reverse.

Pilliard says he is devastated by this accident. The blow is hard for the skipper, entrepreneur and activist who has mobilised a lot of resources to set up this project and is thinking of all those who have supported him since 2016 in this incredible adventure.

The objective of the record attempt was to demonstrate that performance and exceptional challenges can be undertaking while minimising the impact on the planet.

The multihull is Ellen McArthur’s legendary 18-year-old refurbished trimaran, B&Q Castomara, that saw her become the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed in 2005. Adopting the principles of the circular economy using recycled, upcycled, refurbished and original parts, Pilliard has pursued technical innovation to give the trimaran a second lease of life whilst minimising impact on the planet. For example, most sails are cut from recovered sails, the cabin has been refurbished using old windsurfing boards and reconditioned solar panels have been installed on technical fabric from scraps of fabric used to make car airbags.

Use It Again! aims to continue its circumnavigation and enable an ocean noise pollution research programme that involves recording the sound of the ocean and mammals, to create the 1st World Ocean Sound mapping for the purpose of ocean protection. The boat is currently in Ushuaia where a damage report is in progress to assess whether continuing is possible.

This challenge also celebrates 500 years since the first round the world voyage by Magellan and Elcano and only five people have achieved the westabout round the world journey – no one has yet achieved it on a multihull.

Images courtesy of Chilean Navy.

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