© 2015 The Authors. Reinstallation of mobile jack-up rigs next to existing footprints is a problematic operation because the spudcan located near the footprints is subjected to eccentric and/or inclined loading conditions. Geotechnical centrifuge studies have measured these loads for combinations of changing footprint geometry, footprint soil properties and the offset of the reinstallation from the footprint centre. These tests have been of full model spudcans in order to accurately measure the combined loads developed. They have not provided information on the mechanisms of failure occurring during this complex installation. Observations from a visualisation test, where a half spudcan is penetrated against a transparent window in a geotechnical centrifuge, are reported in this paper. The mechanisms of failure at different stages during the penetration are presented.