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British skipper's hopes jeopardised by whale collision

4th December 2008

At approximately 12:30 GMT yesterday (December 1), Jonny Malbon and Artemis Ocean Racing II ploughed into a large animal under the water line, most likely a whale, whilst charging along at over 15 knots in the South Atlantic. It was a nervous time for Jonny and his team as he assessed the damage from the impact of the collision.

Jonny reported significant damage to the starboard daggerboard, which will no longer be 100% effective, particularly affecting upwind performance on a port tack. Despite the setback, Malbon, who is making his competitive solo debut in the race that is considered the Everest of the seas, has vowed to continue on around the world.

British skipper Jonny Malbon (34), participating in his first ever Vendée Globe, was awake and onboard his IMOCA 60 when the abrupt incident occurred but was unharmed. Malbon explains, “The boat immediately stopped dead in the water and remained there for about a minute until the animal released itself from the daggerboard. I was under one reef and Jibtop at the time. Once we had broken free, we sailed off very quickly, but I could clearly see the animal astern in a lot of trouble.”

Malbon continued, “I have some serious damage to my starboard daggerboard, but the boat is fine and the structure surrounding the daggerboard is intact. We have not taken on any water. I will be continuing to race, and will monitor the condition of both the board and the boat.”

He is sailing onboard the new hi-spec, hi-tech, all British designed, built and sponsored IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing II. The young Brit cut his teeth preparing Open 60 racing yachts for some of Britain’s most famous solo sailors, most notably Dame Ellen Macarthur, and now takes the stage himself. More here.

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