Drama in transat race after Riou hits mammal

Artemis Transat race leader Vincent Riou, leading the Open 60 fleet on Day 10 of the contest from Plymouth (GBR) to Boston (USA), has abandoned ship after colliding with a large sea mammal.

Riou realised that one of his keel pins was missing, with the keel only held by the ram used to cant it. With an approaching storm, Riou decided to abandon ship and has been rescued by Loick Peyron onboard Gitana Eighty, who was running in second place at the time.

Here is Riou’s account of the events:

“Last night at around 3:00 GMT, reaching rather fast, between 15 and 18 knots, I felt a shock which didn’t worry me too much since it was violent but ‘soft’ – I didn’t hear any carbon crack. I’m sure it was a shark, and actually I think I cut it in two since I saw two portions emerge at the back of the boat. I assessed the possible damage, and only saw a minor problem on the fairing of the keel box, nothing serious but anyway I slowed down a bit. I took advantage of the ridge we crossed today to stop and get a better look, and that’s when I discovered one of the keel pins was missing. The keel was being held in place because it was canted and somehow stuck, but I didn’t really want to face the gale expected for tomorrow on a boat whose keel could fall off at any time.”

This is not the first time that Peyron has taken on the role of rescuer. During his first Vendee Globe race(1989-1990) he came to the aid of Philippe Poupon off South Africa, helping him to get the boat back into working order when the latter was over on its ear.

For more see theartemistransat.com 

Image: OnEdition