Dismasted Vendee Globe boat to sail again

As the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe is arguably the hardest, and certainly one of the most epic events in the sailing world. Its motto: ‘Around the World, single-handed, non-stop, without assistance’, took on a new meaning for Yves Parlier when his boatAquitaine Innovationswas dismasted in the Southern Ocean during the 2000 race.

The Frenchman anchored off New Zealand, managing to fabricate a jury rig from the carbon remains of his mast.(see picture) He continued racing on to the finish, crossing the line in front of almost half the fleet to a hero’s welcome.

Aquitaine Innovationswas bought last winter by French sailor and 2001 Mini-Transat winner Yannick Bestaven, and it looks as though she could sail again in the 2008 edition of the race. Having spent two years in decline on a Caen dockside, the boat is currently undergoing a major refit. Bestaven is hopeful that she can be restored to her former competitive state:

‘Following three weeks of work the boat looks stylish again. Her condition is improving every day, which cheers us up no end. We have every reason to believe that the injured “bluebird” will soon be back in the water on her way to La Rochelle, where she will finish her convalescence. After that, she will be in top form to face up to any sea!’

If tradition is anything to go by, Bestaven could well be on his way to success in the ‘Globe’. Perhaps it’s due to the support of the home-crowd – the race begins and ends in France – but since its establishment in 1989, every edition of the race has been won by a Frenchman.