Well, unfortunately, Norbert Sedlacek's effort to cross the Atlantic in the Open 16 Fipofix
came to an untimely end, shortly after the start from Les Sables D'Olonne last Sunday. Contrary to initial reports, it was a complete failure of his electrical system that forced the Austrian skipper to seek assistance. However, while being towed into the Spanish port of Gijón, the boat struck debris which ripped one of the rudders off the boat. Interestingly, according to his web site, the structural integrity of his volcanic rock-infused carbon laminate hull was not compromised - it was the stainless steel fittings which failed upon impact.
At this time, it appears that he will not attempt to resume the voyage in 2013, but it wasn't clear to me from the article if he will try again in 2014 or shift his focus back to the 2016 Vendée Globe, for which he has plans to build a new IMOCA 60 using the new composite technology.
I'm rather disappointed, personally, as I was planning to go down to NYC to visit the boat upon its arrival. Now I will have to come to Europe to catch a glimpse of it when it goes on tour.
This has certainly been a horrible year for boats being damaged by floating junk. The list of carnage in the Mini Transat continued overnight, with several notable retirements / abandonments / technical stops resulting from collisions with various objects. I wonder if this will necessitate some radical innovations in boat design to lessen the risk of catastrophic failure when striking large objects at sea. Not sure what can be done other than strengthen key components, but at some point the sailors themselves will risk injury from being thrown off balance during collisions - perhaps helmets and air bags will be required.
On a more positive note, nobody has collided with a fishing boat so far.