Vendee Globe - Groupe Bel collides with trawler

Groupe Bel, the IMOCA Open 60 of Kito de Pavant is the latest Vendee Globe competitor to be forced out of the race. The boat was hit by a trawler this Monday morning at around 10:00hrs CET (09:00hrs UTC) while sailing off the Portuguese coast. According to de Pavant and his team, the port outrigger, the bowsprit, the deck and the upper side of his hull were damaged in the collision, but the skipper De Pavant is safe. He is now sailing to Cascais close to Lisbon.

“I am cursed. The Vendée Globe is not for me.” That was the conclusion of the bitterly disappointed Kito de Pavant this Monday afternoon, despairing at the harsh reality that his challenge to complete the Vendée Globe is, again, very prematurely over.

For the second successive edition of the race this charismatic, twinkle eyed skipper from Port Camargue in the Mediterranean is having to withdraw.

De Pavant has managed to secure his rig is reported to be safe and uninjured. According to the skipper from Port-Camargue in the Mediterranean, the trawler which collided with Groupe Bel boat did not have an Automatic Identification System (AIS) activated.

“Kito has a huge experience. He has secured his rig and is safe”, said Denis Horeau race director of the Vendée Globe during the daily radio interviews. “He should be able to sail safely to Cascais.”

Groupe Bel is making around 9 kts, sailing with a double reefed mainsail in a north westerly wind in 20 kts with a swell of 2.5 meters.

At 12:00 hrs Monday François Gabart leads by 11.5 nm from Vincent Riou, with Armel Le Cléach third - all of France. Best placed GBR entry is Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss in sixth, 61.7 nm from the leader Gabart. Mike Golding on Gamesa is 90 nm off the leader in ninth and Samantha Davies on Savéol is 15th, 154 nm back.

Marc Guillemot on Safran has already retired.