Vendee Globe: Records and Retirees

A string of collisions and accidents plague skippers across the fleet causing some to retire, while at the front, Armel Le Le Cléac'h sets new record time.

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Romain Attanasio is the latest skipper to fall victim to an unexpected collision, damaging both of this rudders.Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI

Famille Mary - Etamine du Lys Collides with UFO

Romain Attanasio, skipper of the Famille Mary - Etamine du Lys boat hit a UFO (unidentified floating object) at around 1130 UTC today (Monday 5th December). Romain was around 470 miles south of Cape Town (South Africa) when his boat, Famille Mary - Etamine du Lys collided with the UFO, which has damaged both his rudders.

Romain is in good health and is not in danger. He has taken the decision to head for Cape Town to attempt to carry out repairs without any external help. More than ever, Romain has the full support of his partners, Famille Mary, Etamine du Lys and all the members of the Sixième Océan Club. His partner Samantha Davies, team manager for the boat declared: “I could see that Romain was initially deeply upset, but he is not giving up and is already feeling more positive. He will be doing his utmost to repair his boat and continue his adventure. I hope he will be encouraged by as many people as possible.” Romain Attanasio should take two or three days to get to Cape Town.

Edmond de Rothschild Suffers Damage

At 0930 UTC this morning (Monday), while he was sailing 600 miles west of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, Sébastien Josse contacted his shore team to inform them that he had suffered major damage to the port foil on Edmond de Rothschild. Taking into account the weather conditions the skipper of Gitana Team has had over the past 24 hours and the worsening weather that is forecast in the area in the coming hours, the skipper in agreement with the team’s owners, has temporarily put the race to one side and is currently studying the best possible options to allow the worst of the storm to go by.

Since yesterday, Sébastien Josse has had to face some very rough conditions ahead of a tropical low coming down from Madagascar. This morning, while sailing on the starboard tack in a westerly air stream blowing at between 30 and 35 knots and on heavy seas with waves in excess of 4m, the 60-foot monohull, Edmond de Rothschild got swept along on a wave and then ploughed into the bottom. The boat came to a sudden standstill and in the incident the port foil suddenly went right down. It slammed into the top of the housing, which damaged the upper part of the appendage and its trimming system. Sébastien Josse was inside when the incident occurred and was not injured.

In order to make safe the foil, which threatened to come out of its housing, which could have had serious consequences for the structural integrity of the hull in this part of the boat, Sébastien Josse gybed to change tack and continue on his starboard foil while trying to carry out temporary repairs. Gitana 16 was on a N-NE’ly heading towards Australia, but for safety reasons was unable to continue on this course for very long. This is in fact the precise trajectory taken by the centre of the low pressure system that the sailor has been trying to avoid for the past 24 hours by making headway towards the east as quickly as possible along the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. According to the latest forecasts, the sailor was likely to be facing 50-knot winds and very heavy seas with 10 m high waves. Since 1300 UTC the 60-foot monohull Edmond de Rothschild has gone back to a SE’ly heading.

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Banque Populaire crashes through the Southern Ocean, temporarily enjoying the company of a nearby French naval vessel.Marine Nationale/ Nefertiti

Spirit of Yukoh Dismasted

At 0240 UTC on Sunday December 4th, Kojiro Shiraishi, Skipper of Spirit of Yukoh contacted his shore team to tell them that he had dismasted. The boat Spirit of Yukoh was sailing in a moderate breeze (20 knots). Kojiro inside of the boat heard the sound of the mast breaking at around 0230 UTC.

Kojiro has since then climbed the mast and succesfully removed the broken part of the mast. Kojiro and the team came to the conclusion that it was impossible to repair this damage and there were too many risks to allow him to continue in these conditions. He decided to retire from the race at 0830 UTC. Kojiro is now safely heading for Cape Town. All the sponsors for this project have said that they are relieved that Kojiro was not injured during this incident. They are all looking forward to assisting Kojiro in his future adventures

Banque Populaire sets new reference time to Cape Leeuwin

Armel Le Cléac'h crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in the SW of Australia at 0814 UTC on Monday 5th December after 28 days, 20 hours and 12 minutes of sailing. He has smashed the reference time set by François Gabart in 2012 by more than five days and 14 hours.

The leader of the Vendée Globe, Armel Le Cléac'h, is already south of Australia. Banque Populaire VIII crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in the SW of Australia at 0814 UTC on Monday 5th December after 28 days, 20 hours and 12 minutes of sailing, confirming the incredible pace that has been set since the start of the race in Les Sables d'Olonne on 6th November. The previous reference time was held by François Gabart with a time of 34 days 10 hours and 28 minutes. Armel has smashed the reference time set by François Gabart by five days, 14 hours and 16 minutes.