Groupama sailing team plan to construct a jury rig and resume racing to Itajaí after reaching Punta del Este at 0335 UTC on Thursday, 12 hours after dismasting.
Though devastated, French skipper Franck Cammas and his crew are keen to return to the racetrack as soon as practical as a podium finish remains well within reach.
While they are unlikely to return to pole position, with only about 600 nautical miles remaining to the finish, third place is likely as CAMPER continue repairs in Chile and the remainder of the fleet have retired.
"We will try to keep racing to Itajaí with a jury rig to take the third place, it’s a beautiful hope, there are 20 points to take and we are hanging on to that hope,'' Cammas said.
"We will do everything to make it happen with the shore team, who will come to Punta del Este, and find a way to do this jury rig."
The French team were leading the Leg 5 race to Itajaí, Brazil when their mast broke, level with the first spreader, about 10 metres above deck. The team suspended racing at 1542 UTC.
Cammas, who was at the helm, said he heard a big bang and saw the mast fold in two above him.
“The mast had folded, the top part fell on the back of the boat, next to me, to leeward. The mast had broken in two, just below the first spreaders. It was very strange, we didn’t think an issue could come from there.
“We tried to deal with these things as quickly as possible, to stop the situation from getting worse. It was rather long as we had the two sails in the water, which acted like floating anchors and pushed hard on the broken tube."
Groupama were 59 nautical miles from Punta del Este, and opted to motor to port. The team were considering shipping their spare mast from the Netherlands and stepping it in port, but this morning decided to continue under jury rig.
Groupama's racing suspension left PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Team Telefónica to battle it out for the leg victory. At 0400 UTC PUMA held a 37 nautical mile lead over the Spanish team.
- 28 Mar 2012At a glance: March 28, 2012
- 26 Mar 2012PUMA make sole gains as race east continues
- 26 Mar 2012Leg 6 injury worries for Groupama’s Harmer
- 26 Mar 2012Moderating winds bring brief respite for fleet
- 25 Mar 2012Groupama dusting off snow on race to Cape Horn
- 18 Mar 2012CAMPER lead as Abu Dhabi begin repairs