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Vendee Globe - Kito de Pavant reports Keel Destroyed

French skipper Kito de Pavant was enduring an anxious wait this afternoon aboard his Bastide Otio after he struck an object which destroyed his keel housing, ripped off his aft keel mountings and left the appendage supported only by the hydraulic keel ram.

At 08:00 UTC this morning (Tuesday), the Vendée Globe Race Directors were alerted by Kito de Pavant’s technical team about serious damage aboard his boat Bastide Otio.

Kito de Pavant, who was sailing at 16 knots under mainsail with two reefs in very heavy seas, informed his shore team that the boat had experienced a very big shock to the keel, hitting an unidentified floating object, and his boat is taking on water.

The Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant.

The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.

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Kito de Pavant reported:

"I hit something hard with the keel. It was a violent shock and the boat came to a standstill.

The rear bearings of the keel were ripped off and the keel is hanging under the boat kept in place simply by the keel ram, which is in the process of cutting through the hull.

The keel housing has been destroyed and there is a huge ingress of water there, but for the moment, it is limited to the engine compartment.

I currently have forty knots of wind and 5-6m high waves. The boat is stopped.

I brought down the mainsail so that she is heeling less.

The situation has been stabilised for the moment. I have my survival kit alongside me.”

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