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The BBC's Robert Hall
"The crippled giant limped towards the Scilly Isles"
 real 28k

The BBC's Lucy Atherton
"Smashed at sea"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Damaged yacht 'can still win'
Pete goss
Pete Goss: "It's a disaster but we'll fight on."
Yachtsman Pete Goss is determined his crippled 4m catamaran Team Philips will still win the round the world yacht race she was built for.

A 25ft section of the yacht's port bow broke off during sea trials off the Scilly Isles on Wednesday and its starboard hull was also damaged.

Team Philips is like an albatross with a broken wing, and we have got to repair it

Pete Goss
The damage to the 120ft craft, the world's largest pure carbon structure, is being assessed while she is moored to a buoy off St Mary's on the Scillies.

But Mr Goss, 38, said he still wanted to win the round the world race which starts from Barcelona on December 31.

But he admitted that an attempt to break the 71-day round the world Jules Verne speed sailing record was off.

"Team Philips is like an albatross with a broken wing, and we have got to repair it," he said.

broken bow
The broken bow in the sea
"It is really a sad day for the project and all the people behind it.

"But we are still determined. We are not going to give up. We are in there fighting. We have just got to find out exactly what the problem is," he said.

He admitted he had felt like crying when the catamaran began to break up.

"It is a real disaster. You don't have to be a sailor to understand that," he said.

'Sad day'

"There are times when I saw the water wash over the hull on that port side and you feel like crying.

"It is a sad, sad day but we're going to regroup and come back stronger. It's not over yet."

Crew member Mike Calvin said the disaster happened half way through what had been an otherwise easy-going sail, on the third day of the trials.

Describing the moment when the hull split he said: "We were doing a speed of about 18 knots relatively untroubled.

Team philips
The stricken catamaran
"Obviously there is some motion in a boat like this and it's fairly noisy - but then there was the ultimate noise.

"It's a little bit like finding yourself in a car on the fast lane of a motorway and having your tyres explode. You know something serious has happened, but you're not quite sure what."

Falmouth coastguard were called to the scene and the stricken craft was eventually towed to St Mary's at 1525 BST by a local lifeboat.

It has now anchored and the Royal Navy Air Service based at Culdrose has supplied airbags to support the damaged port.

The 120ft state-of-the-art boat, unveiled by the Queen earlier this month, left Dartmouth three days ago for sea trials.

Mr Goss became a global hero when he turned back in a southern ocean hurricane to rescue fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli in the 1996-97 Vende Globe round the world single-handed race.

Team Philips' Nick Booth, at the Totnes build headquarters, said: "We now have a huge amount of work to do to find out the cause of the problems.

"Our next problem is how do we make this good again, whether we need to strengthen the bows and then we will carry on from there."

The idea for Team Philips started on the back of a beer mat and developed into the largest carbon fibre racing yacht.

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