Cheminees Poujoulat runs aground in Kerguelen Islands

Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm’s Open 60 has been driven ashore in the Kerguelen Islands, where he had intended to make a pitstop to repair some rudder damage.

Stamm entered Morbihan Bay in 40-45 knot winds on Sunday evening, but was unable to moor up to a buoy despite using his engine, the assistance of a RIB and the help of Dominique Wavre on board. Very quickly a series of events led to the 60-foot Imoca boat being driven ashore. The skipper was taken off safe and sound.

The bad weather during the night meant operations had to cease and the teams retired for the night to shelter in some nearby buildings. It is reported they would wait until it is light to decide on the best course of action.

Any kind of good fortune in the Vendée Globe seems to have always eluded Stamm. In 2000, he retired after a week of racing because of pilot failure. In 2004, he lost his keel in the Transat race five months before the start of the Vendée Globe and so could not take part. This year he collided with a cargo vessel on the first night and had to return to Les Sables to repair his bowsprit and mast. Setting out again three and a half days after his rivals, he had made a magnificent return to the race, before discovering a problem with his rudder bearings on Saturday. On Sunday evening the pit stop in the Kerguelens turned to a nightmare.

Differences between the top boats at the head of the fleet remains relatively stable overnight, although speeds are back in the order 17 and 18 knots for the top three boats this morning, signifying the return of stronger winds. Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3) has gained about five miles, cutting the lead of Jean-Pierre Dick to 73.1 miles as they approach the ice gate which they should reach this afternoon.

Vendée Globe