The tough weather conditions are starting to take their toll on the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe fleet in the Bay of Biscay.
Shortly after 05:30hrs CET, Sébastien Josse alerted his team manager to major damage aboard the ULTIME Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the leader of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe fleet.
Maxi Edmond De Rothschild had been leading by 32 miles with François Gabart on MACIF in second when Josse came to a violent halt. Going on deck he immediately realised there was substantial damage to the starboard float.
It was night time in the area and given the sea state – nearly 4.5 metres of swell – and wind – 30 knots of northerly wind .
The Frenchman is safe and sound and was making about 4 knots in a southerly direction this Monday morning at 08:00hrs CET.
Gabart meanwhile has resumed the race leadership, passing nine nautical miles to the west of Josse’s stricken trimaran at just over 25kts, and is now more than 30 miles ahead of Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim in third place.
There was immediate disappointment for the Saint Malo-based IMOCA skipper Louis Burton who has been forced to make a U-turn and return home with damage to the starboard foil of his Bureau Vallée, formerly the Vendée Globe winning Banque Populaire.
Guadeloupean skipper Willy Bissante was evacuated into Roscoff safely at 05:00hrs this morning, after being rescued off his Rhum Class 50 footer C’La Guadeloupe which grounded on a small island off Perros Guirec.
In the IMOCA class Alex Thomson’s opening move to the north of the first depression on Hugo Boss has paid an early dividend.
The British skipper leads by 13 nautical miles from the pair of French skippers who are now 55 nautical miles to his southeast, Vincent Riou on PRB and Paul Meilhat on SMA.
Thomson’s gutsy choice, going alone to the north of this first depression, has him making more than 21 knots this morning while Riou was making 10 knots at 08:00hrs CET.
The Class40 leader Yoann Richomme on his new Veedol-AIC is also taking the high road, the more northerly routing, as he breaks away from the main peloton.
Richomme has three rivals within a mile of him. Britain’s Phil Sharp on IMERYS CLEAN ENERGY is seventh, 5.5 nautical miles behind.