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As Friends of the Earth put it: Goodbye nuclear hello wind

Posted on 13 October 2010

As Friends of the Earth put it: “Goodbye nuclear, hello wind.”. The Government sounded what could be the death knell for the nuclear industry yesterday by declaring that Britain can meet its ambitious greenhouse gas targets without building more nuclear reactors. Ellen Macarthur’s giant catamaran was limping towards the coast of Western Australia yesterday, her dream of setting a record for sailing around the world shattered when her mast snapped in moderate winds. Without warning, on Sunday night in the dark of the Southern Ocean, 110 miles south-east of the desolate Kerguelen Islands, the huge carbon fibre wing mast broke in two places, crumpling over the port hull. None of the 14 crew, including the three on deck of the 110ft Kingfisher 2 at the time, was injured.An angry and frustrated MacArthur said all on board were devastated by the dismasting, the third time the boat has suffered such a fate.She was sitting at her chart table discussing the weather when she was suddenly and violently thrown forward. “Jolts forward happen quite often in these boats as we fire down waves – but this was different, this was a gut-wrenching, ear-piercing crunching and snapping sound,” she said.

“I dropped the phone and hurled myself towards the companionway, looking round my feet as I went to check water coming on board from anywhere – nothing. As I reached the hatch all became clear in a flash of nausea … the 39.5-metre mast which has powered us ahead of the record over the past days was no longer,” she added.MacArthur, 26, became an international star by taking second place in the Vend?Globe solo non-stop round-the-world race two years ago.Previous glories, however, could not mask the disappointment of the past 24 hours. “It would be very wrong to say that this trip has not been a massive challenge so far, but equally nothing at any stage in this trip has brought tears to my eyes,” she said.”And the tears in my eyes right now come with frustration and anger as I grit my teeth together – not through struggling with other issues, but with the anger that I feel right now at having let so many people down.”So much work has gone into this project – so much energy and commitment, each fitting sealed, each lashing tied, and here we were cutting parts of it over the side. It’s so destructive, so final and so over,” she said.One of those on deck at the time was Neal McDonald from Britain, who sailed on the boat in 2001 when it won the inaugural edition of The Race, the unassisted round-the-world yacht race, skippered by Grant Dalton. McDonald said: “The look on the guys’ faces just says it all Total gloom and doom. Just silence.”The cause of the dismasting might never be known.

Kingfisher 2 had recently had a brand new rig fitted, but no one was looking at the mast at the moment it broke.Sea conditions had been moderate, flattening out after a period of “unpleasantness”, with winds of 28 to 33 knots, and the Kingfisher 2 coursing ahead under mainsail and spinnaker. Two hours before disaster struck, MacArthur needed several stitches in her left hand when she caught her little finger in a rogue rope. “It pulled my finger away from my hand and it bent a long way further than it is supposed to,” she said.The breaking mast had punched a small hole on the bow section of the port hull, but the boat was not taking on water and presented the team with a straightforward repair job.Three hours later the crew was able to use the 65-foot boom as a makeshift mast, secured in the stump of the original. Using storm sails, they were making about 10 knots towards Perth/Fremantle, 2,000 miles away in Western Australia. With plenty of food on board there was no reason to call in the emergency services and the journey was expected to take between 10 and 14 days.Last night, MacArthur was left to ponder what the crew might have achieved. In an audio dispatch to the race website she ruminated on events. “It’s a funny feeling sitting out here thinking about all that has happened, and wondering what might have been …”But then the ‘what ifs’ will always exist in life.

They will never disappear, but you can choose to ignore them. What’s done is done and, however you want to look at it, you learn from it, we have learnt from it We must just get up and on to the next challenge.”. The most feared initials in cricket appear increasingly likely to play a significant role in the eighth World Cup. That was about all that became clear in southern Africa yesterday after Kenya’s astonishing but emphatic victory against Sri Lanka and Australia’s clinical overhauling of Zimbabwe in matches that were free of trouble despite oft-repeated fears and threats.

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