Rob Cumming suffers torn mainsail

OSTAR sailor Rob Cumming, 19, sailing a Tripp 40, has retired from the race. The teenager from Plymouth fought a gallant battle, against all odds, to get his boat ready for the start a week ago.

He set off with high hopes but the harsh conditions experienced during the first three days of the race soon began to show up the lack of time to get the boat fully prepared for an Atlantic crossing.

Engine problems and power failure combined with a torn mainsail gave him little option but to return to shore to sort out these problems. On the way back to Falmouth Rob lost the use of both his auto pilots and had to hand steer for more than 24 hours. On further inspection in Falmouth he discovered the packing under the mast foot had shifted. He arrived in Plymouth today to try and sort the mast problem and to get his auto pilots repaired. The inevitable delay in getting this work done and the fact that the leading boat is now almost halfway to Newport finally decided the skipper to announce his retirement.

Mark Fishwick will be reporting on the event in Yachting Monthly’s August issue.

Picture by Stewart Holmes, Starboard Photography