The loss of Wild Eyes

Now that we've heard that Abby is ok (she is still floating out there, but, according to all reports doing as best as as one can in such circumstances), the question I have now, is what will happen to her boat? Reports indicate that other than a dismasting, the boat is actually fine - No water is entering, and the keel is still attached. All good things. As a French fishing vessel approaches Abby and her boat, I can't help but ponder the fate of the Scot Jutson designed Open 40 Wild Eyes, formally known as BTC Velocity and raced by Alan Paris in the 2002 Around Alone - Fun fact: Wild Eyes is Canadian designed, Australian built, Australian patrolled and French rescued! Will a salvage be attempted? Will the family ask the fishing vessel to attempt some kind of insane crazy southern ocean tow? Will they leave a beacon onboard and hire a salvage team? It's highly unlikely the boat is insured, and if under charter I imagine an agreement was made, whereby the vessel would be paid for in full, at its former asking value of $150k (as advertised by Regatta Management of New Jersey when Wild Eyes was for sale last year). She was under charter for $60k / year, which is less in comparison to the S&S 34 purchased by Don & Margie McIntyre, which was given/leant (I don't know which) to Jessica Watson... That is however an apple & orange comparison, and next to useless since the cost of a boat is actually only a fraction of the overall cost of such an endeavour...

Adding up Abby's 'Platinum level' of sponsorship request yields a sum total of $430,000. Comparatively, Jessica Watson asked for $205,000 for the naming partner (who ended up being Ella Bache), and four principle partners at $20k / each, bringing her asking sum total to $365,000. Who actually knows whether these goals were reached, but those were the asking numbers. I should think the maintenance and costs of maintaining an Open 40 would far outweigh the tried and true Sparkman & Stevens... And the whole point of the temperamental Open 40, was speed in order to beat the non-ratified age record that Jessica now holds... However, that was soon quashed by equipment failures in South Africa - Mike Perham had the same kinds of issues with his chartered Open 50, seemingly stopping at every continent - These Open spec boats need a lot of love, and a lot of money to keep running in the conditions required - I really don't think they were designed to do more than one circumnavigation... Ok, so that's not entirely true, the success of Steve White aboard Toe in the Water in the 1998 Vendee was impressive on all counts, with him sailing an 'ancient' Open 60 built in 1998, as the newer boats fell apart around him... I also have a strong suspicion that Mike & Abby had very little experience with pedigree boats like these, and so their temperamental speed machines struggled between oceans. Steve White had no teams or people to help his campaign, and probably knew Toe in the Water better than the designers and builders combined. He was so entrenched in the endeavour of his Vendee campaign, his house was mortgaged, and he and his family were living on the boat in a French shipyard... Now that's dedication.

Anyway, it's a sad day for yet another Open spec boat, but at least the sailor in question will live to tell the story, which no doubt will be a rather lucrative one... Should Abby be under jury rig now, like Mike Golding in Ecover 3 was in 2008, headed towards Perth from 930nm out? Who knows, I'll save the criticism for others, it's all just an interesting story... Here are some images:


Before

After

Here is a video I found of what a dismasted boat in the southern ocean looks like - In case you were wondering. It is Mike Golding aboard Ecover 3 with a jury rig - If I remember correctly, his speed was about 4-5kts:

So, if you were interested in getting a free Open 40, there is one floating around 40°48′S 74°58′E.

nick.