Vincent Riou's yacht under tow by Chilean Navy

Vincent Riou’sPRBhas dismasted and is under tow by the Chilean Navy. The yacht carrying both Riou and the rescued Jean Le Cam lost its mast on Wednesday evening one hour and 20 minutes after passing Cape Horn.

According to the Chilean NavyPRBwas taken under tow at around 0145hrs this morning and is making about 10 knots towards Port Williams, home ofAlacalufe, the Chilean patrol vessel that went to the aid of Riou, 36, and Le Cam, 49, last night after PRB’s compromised rig gave up in 25 knots of breeze some eight miles NW of the Cape Horn light.

Only hours earlier the pair had been joking about making Vendée Globe history as the first two-man team to pass Cape Horn on the same boat. Then the temporary lashing that they had rigged up to support the broken port outrigger gave way and the mast tumbled over the side. Because of the proximity of the islands and the fact that Riou has not been able to start his engine for some time, there was insufficient time to set a jury rig, although they have retained the boom.

Just 36 hours previously, Riou had rescued his friend and fellow competitor Le Cam from his upturned yacht,VM Matériaux, some 200 miles west of Cape Horn. It was during the rescue process, as Riou circled Le Cam’s vessel to pick up the skipper clinging to the outside of his capsized boat, that his outrigger clipped the inverted keel and sustained damage.

PRBis due to reach Port Williams at around 0845hrs GMT this morning.

Sam Davies, who can expect to be promoted to fourth place whenPRB’s expected retirement is announced, has had to replace her boom vang overnight, and is making steady progress again now with Cape Horn 1,000 miles ahead of her. She is taking a southerly route, only 100 miles north of a set of well tracked icebergs.