Mast lost, deck and stanchions damaged

Vincent Riou’s PRB arrived in Port Williams at about 0930 this morning, under tow by the Chilean Navy. It looks increasingly likely that the race is over for the French skipper, who only 36 hours had saved his friend and fellow competitor, Jean Le Cam, from his capsized boat, damaging his own boat in the process.

Race officials report that as well as the loss of the rig, ‘there is some damage to the stanchions and deck of PRB. There is very little locally which they can access to affect any kind of repairs and they are now on military property. Peurto Williams is a mainly naval town of just about 2,000 people mainly Naval personnel.’

Telling of the moment his jury rig collapsed, Riou, said: ‘We were in the process of manoeuvring to enter the Beagle Channel and the temporary chain plate that we had set up on the port side failed. The mast fell straight into the water. There was nothing we could do but leave it, as there were choppy seas. It was dangerous to try to do anything.

‘Last night we were taken in tow by the Chilean Navy and we’ve just arrived in Puerto Williams. We sailed for 250 miles with the repairs that we’d carried out to the rig and we only had 50 left. It’s one of those things. Now, we have to get some rest, sort out our customs problems, which is not going to be easy. The most important thing is not making any rash decisions.

‘Physically we’re tired, but that’s not really new. Both Jean and me, our arms are just hanging at our sides. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’re going to have to live with it but after all the other problems I had last year (partially dismasted in Barcelona World Race, hit sea mammal in Artemis Transat and had to abandon)…. It feels like history is repeating itself. We’re temporarily moored at a naval pontoon. Now, we’re going to have to find somewhere to moor to ensure the boat is safe.’