Congere, Maxi – Pole thru Mainsail


Congere was a Frers 80’ Maxi, racing here in the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii. It was an aluminum hull and deck, very light weight and built for Bevin Koeppel. The deck plating in many areas was only 5/32” thick and was corrugated every 6” to keep panel stiffness.

We liked this dynamic photo of her broach. We noticed much later that there was a strange black line in the forward lower corner of the mainsail. What is that? It is a shadow, and as we looked closer, we could see the inboard end of the spinnaker pole sticking 6′ through the mainsail to windward. It had broken off the forward side of the mast, during the broach, and poked its way through the main. What a great broach and a timely shot!

Later, Congere was doing the BA to Rio race, the Owner’s favorite, when he rode her up onto the beach 300 miles away from civilization and lights. Complete darkness, no loom from land, they thought they were 14 miles out to sea, then they hit bottom. On the fourth bounce the mast fell down, thirty minutes later the sun came up and they could see the beach 200 yards away. They abandoned the boat for the beach, the 70 year old owner abandoned last.  With more bouncing on the bottom, the keel broke off. Further drift towards the beach and more bouncing, the rudder broke off. Soon she arrived on the beach and the crew got back on for the missing things to take with them, home by land.