Ytterligare en tävlande i Vendée Globe har krockat med något stort och hårt. Skrovet har spruckit och skepparen Thomas Ruyant gör allt han kan för att hinna till Nya Zeeland innan båten går i två delar. Se video.
Den unga franska skepparen ombord på båten ”Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine” håller nu så hög fart han vågar för att nå nödhamn i Nya Zeelands sydligaste stad Bluff.
Han håller omkring 7,5 knop för motor och i måndags eftermiddag hade han 205 sjömil kvar att köra. Som om det inte vore nog med att hans båt är på väg att gå i två bitar redan i de rådande relativt lätta vindarna, så är det en storm på väg in.
Han är den femte skepparen som kör på ett så kallat ”ufo” (ufo unidentified floating object) som han tror var en container. Det är femte gången som det händer i årets Vendée Globe.
– Båten seglade i omkring 17 knop när det hände. Jag låg och sov och lyckligtvis hade jag jag huvudet mot min sackosäck som tog emot när jag slungades fram och slogs mot skottet framme vid masten. Prylar som låg löst i aktern flög tio meter rakt genom båten. Det tog verkligen tvärstopp och båten har spruckit på flera ställen och började ta in vatten, berättar Thomas Ruyant.
Han har någorlunda lyckats hejda vattnet från att komma in men kolfiberstrukturen luckras sakta men säkert upp och tappar sin styrka.
– Det är oklart om båten kommer att vara i ett stycke hela vägen till land. Räddningspersonal står redo att rycka ut och lyckligtvis är jag inom räckhåll för att bli räddad av helikopter.
Styrbords roder gick också av men lyckligtvis står masten kvar.
Här följer en grundligare uppdatering från racet som innefattar ytterligare ett mastbrott, ytterligare förluster för Alex Thomson och mer eller mindre stora problem för de flesta:
Following the collision with an unidentified floating object late yesterday afternoon, the French skipper Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine) competing in the Vendée Globe is in serious difficulty. The 35 year-old skipper is in good health, but his boat is on the point of splitting in half. As a good sailor, after spending the night hove to, Thomas Ruyant is attempting to motor to Bluff in New Zealand, which is 260 miles away from his seriously damaged boat.
Race Direction have been in regular touch with the sailor, who has been under engine, and with Laurent Bourgués, technical director of Le Souffle du Nord, monitoring the situation. Ruyant has an ingress of water, a broken starboard rudder, damage to a ring frame, cracking in the deck.
Stephane Le Diraison who broke his mast has set a jury rig with his boom and is making around six knots towards Melbourne which is eight hundred miles ahead of him. The two race leaders (Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire VIII and Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss) are now sailing in entirely different weather systems, split by a ridge of high pressure. Thomson is compromised on port tack and unable to use his damaged starboard foil. Armel Le Cléac’h has passed the symbolic 500 mile barrier over the British sailor. Latest routing predicts the Frenchman will reach Cape Horn two days earlier than his closest rival.
Paul Meilhat (SMA) and Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) are 30 miles still fighting each other for third place with a slight advantage for Paul Meilhat this morning They appear to have made it out of the transition zone, but are likely to lose a large part of their lead over the trio comprising Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir), Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac) and Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent), who are now only 600 miles behind them. It seems possible that this gap will be cut in half by Cape Horn with much more favourable weather for the trio behind. Latest routing simulations show they will only be a day behind Meilhat and Beyou which means that the battle is still on for a place on the podium.
In the rest of the Top Ten, things are going well for Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) and Nandor Fa (Spirit of Hungary), who are now in more manageable conditions. Arnaud Boissières crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin yesterday evening in 13th place. In thethousand miles behind La Mie Câline, the fight is on as they make their way towards Australia with in order Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut), Alan Roura (La Fabrique), Enda O’Coineen (Kilcullen-Team Ireland), Rich Wilson (Great American IV), Eric Bellion (CommeUnSeulHomme) and Pieter Heerema (No Way Back). The Dutchman is sailing at thirteen knots a little over 1100 miles from the second major cape. When he spoke yesterday to Vendèe LIVE, Heerema sounded in much better spirits, confirming all is now well on board his No Way Back and he will retain his conservative route, north of 40 degrees to avoid the worst of the weather to his south.
There is no need to worry about Conrad Colman’s absence from the rankings this morning. Foresight Natural Energy was not spotted last night at 2100 UTC or this morning, but all is well on board apart from the beacon not sending his position. Conrad informed the Race Directors that he is trying to find a way to send his position again and hopes to solve the problem shortly. For the three at the rear, Didac Costa (One Planet One Ocean), Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys) and Sébastien Destremau (technoFirst-faceOcean), it was a rough night, as they probably encountered 50-knot gust, but the worst of the weather is now behind them and conditions are improving.
Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ): “I understood that things were not going right, when I missed the train that Armel and Alex caught in the South Atlantic. I had told myself before that I could make it. But just because you punch your ticket correctly doesn’t mean you won’t miss your train. Pushed along by a decent SW’ly air stream, SMA and Maître CoQ ran into the low which is blocking their route ahead. We tried everything – going around via the north, sailing high, and we ran into it again. Nothing worked. Then this morning, the gates opened. I came out of a raincloud and found sunshine and 20 knots of wind. I have been looking at my route and can see my detour, all the extra miles and low speeds over the past few days. In the end the toll was high. There is no point in running like crazy, as we saw in La Fontaine’s fable (The Tortoise and the Hare). I have seen what happens if you do that and will probably see it again. But maybe before the end of the race, that lesson will apply to my friends out in front. As for Armel, it’s as if Mother Nature left all the doors open for him”
Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-faceOcean): ”The wind is still blowing between 30 and 50+ knots and the sea state goes from manageable to scary in a matter of a few miles. Following yesterday’s chaotic day, we have decided to head north-east. The wind and more importantly the sea state should be much better from tomorrow the 20th onwards. The repair that needs to be done at the head of the mainsail is very simple but it cannot be done in this kind of weather. It is just a matter of reconnecting the head of the sail with the car on the mast. You align everything and put a pin in. Job done. However, even with the sail on deck, the top on the main is very high and it’s impossible to work up there on such a jumpy boat. Today’s job is to replace both runners by new ones.”