Friends of Prospector
As many of you know Prospector dismasted at 3am on Sunday June 9th while participating in the 2019 Annapolis to Newport Race. At the time of the incident we were in the Atlantic approximately 50 miles offshore and 80 miles northeast of Norfolk.
A hanger pin, a one-inch stainless steel piece of rod that holds the head stay to the mast, failed. We were sailing upwind on starboard tack in 22 knots of wind and 8-foot seas. The rig came down to port. The crew was all hiking to starboard which kept them out of harm’s way.
The rig broke about 20 feet above the deck. The next 40' collapsed down the port side. The final 45 feet was trailing in the water astern of Prospector and in minutes broke away due to wave action. When we cut it away, it sank taking the mainsail with it.
The Prospector crew was amazingly calm. We had trained for how to handle a mast failure and everyone knew what to do, quickly and quietly got about their jobs and executed according to plan. The boat was sorted out and under way in less than 45 minutes. We motored back to Norfolk under our own power.
We were sailing a perfect race up until the mast came down. We made it down the Chesapeake, 120 nautical miles, in 8 hours, exiting the bay at 7pm on Saturday night, we were tight and broad reaching, not our fastest point of sale at 15 knots. It was epic fun. By 8:30pm we had passed the Chesapeake Bay light, the last mark before the finish. At 11pm the wind shifted and we tacked and headed for Newport.
When the mast collapsed Prospector was leading for line honors, ORC overall and ORC 1A. Most significantly, we were poised to challenge the existing race record. Our routing and models had us finishing the race in 35-36 hours, well inside the existing 40-hour record. We are more disappointed about losing the chance to break the record than losing the rig. Had we done so Prospector would have held course records for Marblehead to Halifax and A2N, two of the three major east coast ocean races. Oh well!
Thanks to all of you for your messages of concern and encouragement. We are hard at work assessing options for getting our beloved and amazing boat back together and back out on the race course again soon. We will keep you posted on our progress.
In the immortal words of Robert Earl Keen "the road goes on forever and the party never ends"