I would say that you handled it well. You didn't mention PFDs, but I assume that because you were racing that all were wearing them.
How old was the standing rigging on the boat? Because I was unsure of it's age, in December of 2019 I purchased ALL new standing rigging for my boat. I KNOW that the rigging on my boat was at least 12 years, possibly 18 years old.
I had a similar dismasting experience while teaching the third day of an ASA 103 course. On this boat it was a combination of a bunch of little problems that compounded to result in the eventual dismasting of the Lippincott 30. That boat was a school boat, and should any of the smaller issues been addressed there would not have been a problem.
Briefly, that story goes like this;
- That day was windy - gusts of over 30 knots - but this should have been good experience for the students.
- The boat was old, and instead of blocks at the stanchion bases for the roller furler, there were only "eye straps," aka "inchworms." I had mentioned that these should be replaced with proper blocks to the owner, and he stated that he was going to get to it "sometime."
- There were no "readily accessable" spares aboard. The boat was in a never ending refit, and the interior was torn apart. Parts of the boat were thrown into little plastic bins aboard, and there were tools all over the place in the cabin.
- The boat had been used for training earlier in the year. I had assumed that the boat and all her systems had been thoroughly inspected before she was put into service. Thie course that I was teaching was ASA 103. I teach the full inspection of the vessel in ASA 104.
- The boat also had no fuel gauge, so I had to believe the school owner when he told me that the fuel tank had just been filled.
As we left the marina under power and headded out the channel, I felt that we were getting a bumpy ride in the chop. To steady out the boat, I decided to let out A LITTLE headsail, which would put us on a beam reach, starboard tack. About a third of the way down the channel, I noticed that one of the leeward upper shrouds had disconnected from the chainplate! I dove below and searched for something, anything, to replace the cotter and clevis pins that were now gone. All that I could find was a machine screw and a nut. I ran back up the companionway ladder, and on deck to fix the issue.
As I was reattaching the shroud to the chainplate, I noticed that more headsail had unfurled than I had initially let out. I assume that either the line had stretched, or the wrap on the drum wasn't tight and more line had paid out as the sail strained in the high wind. Regardless, I could not furl the line because the friction from the six eye straps, combined with the heavy wind, was too much for anyone to furl the jib. My plan was to get out of the narrow channel, fall off the wind, and furl the sail. Just as I got back into the cockpit the engine died....
My best guess was that the tank had NOT recently been filled and that the bumpy ride had allowed the fuel dip tube to pick up air. This still should not have been a problem, as we were still under head sail power. All we needed to do was get to the end of the channel, tack or gybe, and sail back up the channel to pick up a mooring. The channel in question is about a nautical mile long.
Once we made it to the end of the channel, I had the helmsman try to tack. The wind was too strong, and we weren't going fast enough, and the boat stalled. We got back underway and I had the helmsman gybe (great practice!). We made the gybe, but with an inexperienced helmsman we couldn't point high enough to make the channel, so I had them gybe again and try to point higher. This was better, but we were now heading in the wrong direction. One more gybe, and we still weren't pointing high enough. I therefore took the wheel and executed two more gybes and we were now pointing for the channel. Things were looking up! Just then there was a loud "BoinK" as the screw sheared and the mast snapped cleanly in two at the spreaders, and fell into the water, taking the VHF antenna with it. Class was now OVER!
This was a class so everyone aboard was wearing a PFD. I checked that the crew were OK, and then went forward and dropped the anchor (stop things from getting worse!). With the anchor set, I then surveyed the damage and noticed that the mast was banging against the hull. I grabbed two dock lines and secured the mast against the hull so that it would not hole the vessel. Thankfully a student came forward to help me out.
I waved down a passing sailboat and requested assistance. He replied that he would arrange a tow for us from the marina where we were based. While we waited there I went below and tried to bleed the motor with a pair of vice grips, and again to get the motor started with no luck. With nothing left to do, the students and I had lunch in the cockpit. I now carry my own handheld VHF whenever I teach.
Eventually, we were towed in, and that boat was out of commission for sailing lessons for the rest of the year. The school continued to use it, however, for docking lessons.