As this single handed sail boat race continues there has been some high drama in the southern Indian Ocean. The only Japanese skipper, Kojiro SHIRAISHI had retired and is heading for Capetown after breaking his mast. French sailor Kito DE PAVANT hit an unidentified underwater object which destroyed his keel housing.
Since he was now taking on water he was expected to be rescued by the French supply ship Marion Dufresne. De Pavant, 55 years old had battled through more than 48 hours of strong winds and big seas.
Sébastien Josse, who was in third place in the Vendee Globe, has had his toughest night of the solo round the world race so far, after his port foil was damaged yesterday. His boat slammed into the bottom of a 4 metre wave. Since the incident his main concern has been for himself, the boat and the damaged foil, altering his route to avoid the worst weather. He has now retired from the race and is heading to Australia.
New Zealander, Conrad Coleman, had an electrical fire on his boat burning up wires to his auto pilot. He was able to extinguish them and successfully rewire the pilot and continue racing.
That puts Paul Meilhat in third place, but he is 1300 nautical miles behind the number two boat of Alex Thomson. The leader Armel LE CLÉAC’H, is now 132 nm ahead of Thompson.
The race is in its 31st day and the lead boat still has 12,571 miles to go. The leaders are now just south west of Tasmania. Armel LE CLÉAC’H has averaged 18.3 knots in the past 24 hours and covered 441 nautical miles or 817 kilometres. Consider that the large BC Ferries cruise at 18-20 knots. For a sailboat to be capable of that speed continuously for 24 hours with only one man aboard is remarkable.
29 boats started a month ago, 22 are still in it.