Giancarlo Pedote now deprived of his J2
Yesterday evening, making headway some 140 miles to the north-west of Cape Finisterre in around twenty knots of S’ly wind, jostling for 13th position in the IMOCA fleet competing in the 12th Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe alongside Yannick Bestaven, Justine Mettraux, Isabelle Joschke and François Guiffant, Giancarlo Pedote saw his J2 literally explode in two. It’s a tough blow for the skipper of Prysmian Group, now deprived for the rest of his transatlantic race of this precious headsail attached via a furler to the mainstay. However, the Florentine immediately set about securing everything aboard the boat and can still have full use of his J3, albeit a much smaller genoa, which fortunately means that he won’t be too heavily penalised in terms of performance.
“At dusk yesterday evening, whilst making headway under J2 with one reef in the mainsail in around twenty knots of breeze, calm in my bunk trying to get some rest, I heard the sail shivering. The first thing that sprang to mind was that with the boat bouncing up and down in the waves, the sheet had jumped off the winch, as that’s already happened to me once before. Unfortunately, when I came out from under the cuddy, I discovered the J2 split in two under the luff (forward edge of the sail),” explained Giancarlo, who immediately set about making the boat secure as this famous J2 (J means jib) is attached to the mainstay connecting the deck to the mast. “I pulled on my foulies and took the helm to get the boat facing head to wind and dumped everything. Part of the sail had fallen into the water. Despite all that, I managed to bring everything back onboard and tied it all down with a line,” recounted the skipper of Prysmian Group, who required nearly an hour to get everything as shipshape as possible again. “I had to cut away the genoa from the cable and then I stuffed it into the sail locker so it couldn’t shake loose again and impinge on the sail plan going forward,” explained the Italian sailor, who has had to use up a phenomenal amount of his energy reserves to continue his race in the best possible conditions despite the loss of this J2. It’s a sail with which he completed his Vendée Globe in 2020-2021, and it’s very versatile, with a big range and a surface area of around 100 square metres. “Right now, I’m continuing my race under J3”, said the Italian. This J3, also known as a staysail or ORC jib, is attached to the shortest of the stays, furthest aft on the foredeck. As a result, its logically smaller at around 50 square metres. Naturally this means that Giancarlo will be penalised in terms of performance, but it’s still game on, the sailor keen to continue doing battle with his usual determination using the weapons at his disposal. “The battle continues,” assured Giancarlo who, having negotiated the first front rolling through last night is currently traversing a ridge of high pressure and preparing for another gale this evening with gusts in excess of 40 knots on heavy seas.