Calamities of the Vendée Globe

The nonstop solo around-the-world race has been called the "Everest of the Seas." Like Everest, the Vendée Globe takes prisoners. As the miles left to the finish diminish, so do the number of boats in the race.

November 29, 2012


On the night of November 24, Vincent Riou aboard PRB collided with a metal buoy in the South Atlantic, ripping a one and a half meter tear in the hull. Vincent Riou / PRB / Vendée Globe


Initially, the one and a half metre tear to his hull, four metres from the bow on the starboard side, looked like the most significant problem, but Riou then discovered that his mast was at risk. After hitting the hull the buoy caught the starboard shroud underneath the outrigger – the carbon cable that supports the mast. Vincent Riou / PRB / Vendée Globe


Groupe Bel IMOCA Open 60 of Kito de Pavant was hit by a trawler the morning of November 12 around 1000hrs CET (0900hrs UTC) while sailing off the Portuguese coast. The damage to Groupe Bel is significant but the solo skipper De Pavant is safe. According to the skipper from Port-Camargue in the Mediterranean, the trawler which collided with Groupe Bel boat did not have AIS (Automatic Identification System) activated. Ricardo Pinto / Windreport’ / Groupe Bel


On the eighth day of the Vendée Globe Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) suffered a broken hydraulic jack in his keel. With a sudden clean break causing his boat to lurch his canting keel was left swinging loose beneath the boat. He immobilised it with ropes but was taking in water where the keel is attached to the boat and limped to Santo Vincente, Mindelo, in the Cape Verde islands, 40 miles away, at a speed of 5-6 knots. Beyou is the fifth skipper to retire this year. JEAN MARIE LIOT / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE


On November 21, Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski of Energa Sailing Team retired from the Vendée Globe after multiple days of trying to fix a failed autopilot. R.Hajduk /


British sailor Samantha Davies arrives on November 17, 2012 in Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal. Davies, who was eliminated from the solo, round-the-world Vendée Globe after the dismasting of her yacht. The 38-year-old was the only woman competing in the world’s most gruelling yacht race. AFP PHOTO / GREGORIO CUNHA / DPPI / DPPI


At 1945hrs (French time), on Thursday, November 15th, Samantha Davies contacted the race office of the Vendée Globe to report that her boat had dismasted. Davies is not injured. She is safe inside the boat with all the watertight doors closed. She is monitoring the situation and does not require assistance. She is wearing her survival suit and has safety equipment at hand. When the incident occurred, she was about 130 nautical miles northwest of Madeira (position 34 ° 20’N 19 ° 01’W). The conditions at the time of dismasting were: wind 260 °, 40 knots, swell northwest, 3 to 4 metres. But the situation will gradually improve, with winds decreasing to 15 knots in the second half of the night. After speaking to Davies, the race office contacted the Cross Griz Nez (France’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to release an urgent Notice to Mariners (AVURNAV). All vessels navigating in a 200 nautical mile radius around Savéol were informed of the incident and the position of the boat. Courtesy of Samantha Davies / Savéol / Vendée Globe


VNAM shore crew fix the boat after a collision with a RIB during the Vendée Globe start in Les Sables D’olonne. November 10, 2012. FRANCOIS VAN MALLEGHEM / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE

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