Yes this was the event that I'd been helping support - and originally was acting as support boat for.
No, in the end we didn't use my own RIB, which thankfully saved me from having to make the hard call about suitablility.
The RIB we did use was an altogether different beast
. More details are in the blog (link below), but in essence the support boat was a 14m closed cabin RIB, with twin inboard diesels and jet drives, which was formerly in service with the Canadian Coast Guard. Result!
I was privileged enough to act as supporting crew on that RIB. The offer of the boat actually came about from the owner reading my earlier posts - so it's hats off to this forum for that!
Conditions were calm initially changing to slight as night arrived. We were getting the light tailwinds as forecast and hoped for. Our hamster - Chris - was maintaining a pretty constant pace which extrapolated to a 24 hr crossing prediction - comfortably ahead of expectations.
Chris was still feeling strong approaching the 8 hr point, which was roughly when the first ruddder was lost. Simple mechanical failure - with hindsight I'm sure Chris would accept that the design simply wasn't robust enough - he's been beating himself up over that ever since.
The next hour saw Chris more 'head down' than intended trying to protect the second rudder - physically tough in the slight chop and ultimately unsuccessful as that too was lost. That's when we collected him and put the craft under tow. My records say he achieved 22 miles, 35% of the total. (So he might have just made it across the Channel!)
The Tredalo proved to be more skittish under tow than we'd seen in our earlier trials, possibly due to the missing rudders, and about 2/3 of the way back one of the hulls detached and so the 'wheel' fell over sideways. A safety call was made to cut it loose. We believe this major remaining part sank, although I've heard a rumour that the local RNLI recovered one hull
this weekend just gone. (I understand they came across it out on a training excercise).
To avoid ruining what overall I found a fantastic experience, I've deliberately avoided reading any press reports.
Chris got a heck of a lot of publicity before the event - with huge numbers of website hits and indeed the live GPS tracker (commercial) site experienced it's first 'overload' event. So one big disappointment so far is that a high proportion of the charity donations have still come from friends, colleagues and family.
I keep getting asked if he'll try again - I've got no idea on that one!