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In the off chance that you have been living on the moon for the last little while (and that the moon doesn’t have any TV news channels) I’ll quickly remind you that the world’s biggest carbon fibre construction is a £4, 000, 000 yacht. This super-yacht has a revolutionary design and if I were cruel (okay, if I were crueller) I’d say that the revolutions in the design are the handy dandy features that allow it to snap in two and crumble to pieces. That would be unfair of me though. Despite one the twin hulls breaking off in the catamaran’s first sea trails the general opinion of the public was well and truly behind Team Philips and the hero sailor Pete Goss.
Pete Goss became a hero (picking up, even, the Legion d'Honneur from the French President Chirac) when he turned his boat back into the deadly wind of a hurricane to rescue a fellow sailor.
Is it this bravery which explains why Team Philips headed out into the Atlantic to meet conditions which were so bad that many other experienced sailors decided to shelter from. Is it something else? Is Pete Goss rather too confident? Hmm. Maybe. At least, though, at least he did decide to send up the signal flare so he and his crew could be carried to safety.
It is a shame to think of £4, 000, 000 worth of British engineering skills being left to suffer Force Ten winds and run the risk of being salvaged by privateers first.
The yacht is a wonder of engineering though; perhaps Mr Goss has every reason to be confident with it. I didn’t know until today that Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the president of the Sail Training Association, expressed concerns about the design of the revolutionary mast system.
The snapping hull of the first sea trial was pretty much widely covered by the media. I had missed the fact that there were troubles with the masts during the second trial.
Is it any wonder that one of his crew quit last month stating that it would be insanity to try and compete in the round the world race which is due to leave port on New Year’s day? I don’t think so.
I really want Britain to do very well in this around the world race. I am increasingly frustrated by what seems to be a comedy of errors that surround this super-yacht. Perhaps I’m being unfair though. My frustration must be nothing compared to Goss and his crew.
They don't seem to be having much luck, I pity the poor sponsors, all that cash and all that bad publicity! I hope they get it all fixed as it certainly catches the eye but I'm not holding out much hope!
pishton 12.12.2000 15:00
Have you read his book, "Close to the Wind?" Goss's determination knows no limits, the boat will succeed in the end provided that he can keep up the financial support.
fireman1 12.12.2000 02:41
I went to see the original launch at Totnes and the boat look fantastic.....shame it cant sail more than 100 miles at a time. THET SHOULD CALL IT.... TEAM TITANIC