The following was posted by Chip Southerland (aka Dorsalis) on the WaterTribe forum:
Apertaining to one of the greatest disappointments endured in life, my participation in EC-2014 ended yesterday at about 5:30 PM between Crate and Pavillion Keys. I was proceeding southeast on a Starboard Tack in 2-4 foot seas on a brisk Westerly-Southwesterly wind when there was a sudden "BANG" (always a bad sound on a small boat in remote, breezy seas). The right side pedal crank shaft snapped off of my Mirage Drive at the drum. I could not get the Mirage Drive system to function with only a left crank shaft pedal. Tried pulling on the foot strap, triedpushing and pulling the left side Mirage Drive crank shaft manually... nothing worked.
With the prevailing Southerly winds during most of this EC event, the Mirage Drive has been a primary functionary throughout most of the trip. I must have brought along every spare piece Hobie retails to repair any reparable part of the Mirage drive system. However, this breadown clearly, was irrepairable. I tried to sail on for a while, but found that, with out the Mirage Drive, I could not Tack the boat through the eye of the wind in heavy seas. Waves kept knocking back the bow. If one is going to sail, one has to tack. And so, with great trepidation, I had to withdraw for mechanical breakdown. Interestingly, I had just passed "Dances With Waves" in his Hobie TI, about 20 minutes before on reciprocal tacks. He had just broken his Mainmast step plate and was headed in. He shouted to me "Ahoy Dorsalis! My mast step has broken, I'm finished - Headed in now". I replied "So sorry to hear it, see you at the finish!".
After 14 months of preparation, many thousands of $$, a lot of blood sweat and tears, this is, needless to say, a great disappointment. The boat is relatively new, having been purchased just last August. I have not heard of others sustaining this same sort of breakdown. As a structural failure, I trust Hobie will make good on their product and replace or repair the broken Crankshaft. However, that will not begin to assuage the despondency I am feeling right now over coming so far with this race and being taken out by a mechanical failure.
To all the great Tribers, with whom are shared more than a few fond and poignant memories of this EC-14, best of luck to you!
Chip Southerland (aka Dorsalis)