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Return to the news 05 December 2016

Damage aboard Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse puts his race on hold for now

Vendée Globe 2016-2017 Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild Sébastien Josse

At 09:30 GMT on Monday morning, as Sébastien was positioned some 600 miles to the West of the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, Sébastien Josse contacted his shore team to alert them to serious damage to the port foil on the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild. Given the poor weather conditions that Sébastien has encountered over the last 24 hours, with the situation set to worsen in the area over the coming hours, the solo sailor, in agreement with the owners of his boat, is putting his race on hold and is currently trying to work out with his team the best possible options for leaving the worst of the storm to roll through safely.

Since yesterday, Sébastien Josse has been having to contend with very muscly conditions ahead of a tropical low pressure system dropping down from Madagascar. This morning, as he was making headway on starboard tack in a W'ly breeze of between 30 and 35 knots and heavy seas with waves of over 4 metres, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild went into overdrive in the surf, ploughing into the bottom of the wave. The boat came to a very abrupt halt and with the impact, the port foil dropping violently. At that point, it whipped hard against the foil's upper housing, which damaged the top of the appendage and its trimming system. Sébastien Josse was down below when the incident occurred and is not injured.

In order to secure the foil, which was threatening to pull out of its housing, which would have affected the appendage's casing and the structural integrity of this part of the boat, Sébastien Josse gybed onto the opposite tack and sailed with his starboard foil whilst he made temporary repairs. Gitana 16 was on a heading of N-NE at that point, bound for Australia, but for safety reasons he was unable to hold that course for long.

Indeed, the low pressure system in which the sailor had been trying to make good his escape for the past 24hrs by making headway eastwards as quickly as possible along the edge of the AEZ (Antarctic Exclusion Zone), is toughening up to its North. In fact, to the North of the low pressure centre, the latest forecasts were announcing 50-knot winds and heavy seas with waves reaching up to 10 metres.  As a result, since 13:00 GMT, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild has set a course towards the SE again so as to avoid this ‘zone' of heavy seas.

Cyril Dardashti, Director of Gitana Team, and all his team, are in constant contact with Sébastien Josse to find the best possible solutions as quickly as possible and put them in place.

Further information to follow over the coming hours. 

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