Giacomo limps into Constitution Dock sans mast

The New Zealand Volvo 70 Giacomo limped into Kings Street Pier in Hobart at midday today, minus her towering rig, her crew dejected but determined to come back and do the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race again.

Owner, Jim Delegat, was visibly disappointed, as he might be; having taken measures to make sure their boat would be up to beating sistership, Black Jack (Peter Harburg) over the line this year, after the reverse happened last year. Instead, Delegat, owner of Delegat Wines, is facing a bill of around $400,000, should he have to buy a new rig and replace the sails lost, after dismasting while sailing under spinnaker in hard north-easterly winds 21 nautical miles north-east of Cape Sonnerat at around 5.00pm yesterday.

He may opt to purchase an existing V70 rig; there are plenty of spares lying idle from the last VOR. Even that would cost him $50,000 plus sails and transport. It would leave no change from $100,000.

“We are yet to reflect on why the rig came down,” Delegat said aboard his yacht today. “We’ve made some improvements and have been very happy with boat and its speed.

“We were sailing on port tack and the mast just bent forward when the breeze stiffened up. We had the rig cut away within an hour. I have a very good crew and we were very prepared for this Hobart – prepared even for a catastrophe.”

Delegat is left wondering how they survived the harsh southerlies at the beginning of the race, only to lose the mast in conditions the boat was suited to later on.

“It was a nasty start and the first 24 hours,” said Delegat whose 18 year-old son Nikolas was undertaking his first Hobart aboard the yacht. “Nikolas has done a lot of sailing with me, long passages, so he handled it well.

“Of course there was disappointment, but it was mixed with reality as well – it’s part of sailing. We have the right people on board, there was a great sense of calm and we are comfortable with the decisions we made,” the New Zealander said.

Will he be back?

“I’ve got other plans for the next year, but I would like to try it again,” he said.

By Di Pearson, RSHYR media 

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