Crew left to rue demise of Max­imus

Townsville Bulletin - - Sailing -

THE crew of re­tired Syd­ney to Ho­bart maxi yacht Max­imus be­lieve their dra­matic dis­mast­ing has cost not only hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in dam­age and a few bro­ken bones, but also the line hon­ours in this year’s race.

The sleek 30m New Zealand maxi yacht, which mo­tored back in to Syd­ney yes­ter­day, snapped her mast just 14 hours into the race forc­ing her re­tire­ment and in­jur­ing five crew, in­clud­ing three who had to be air­lifted to hospi­tal.

Al­though re­lieved to re­turn safely and grate­ful the in­juries weren’t worse, crew mem­bers said they couldn’t help but feel they were head­ing for vic­tory af­ter reel­ing in race leader Wild Oat­sXIshortly be­fore the in­ci­dent.

‘‘I thought we had it in the bag at the time,’’ said coowner Bill Buck­ley who was greeted by his re­lieved fam­ily upon the re­turn to Rush­cut­ters Bay.

‘‘We’d had a lit­tle bit of head­sail prob­lems ear­lier on but we’d ti­died that up and were gain­ing and were side by side (with WildOat­sXI).

‘‘We had the big gear for the qui­eter times too so we would have come in (to Ho­bart) strong.’’

Max­imus skip­per Charles St Clair Brown said the mast should not have bro­ken in the mod­er­ate con­di­tions and winds of around 18 to 20 knots.

‘‘We have some se­ri­ous is­sues to re­solve in terms of what hap­pened,’’ he said.‘‘Then we’ve got to as­sess the cost of the re­pairs and how and when we do it but we have elected to take it to New Zealand and fix it there.’’

St Clair Brown said the costs would be sig­nif­i­cant and the boat could take up to five months to re­pair but he said the race would again be tar­geted next year.

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