Reassured that things technical have been sorted out, Fred Le Peutrec, skipper of Gitana 11 has officially announced to René Boullaire, President of the Race Committee that Gitana 11 is retiring from the Québec-Saint Malo race. After having collided with an « UFO » (unidentified floating object, not at all rare on the North Atlantic), the crew finished making the necessary repairs by the end of the afternoon. The engine which provides the boat's energy never the less came into contact with saltwater and so computers and electronics are out of action for the time being.But there is no trouble monitoring Gitana 11's position thanks to her Argos beacon. At 15h00 (French time) the boat was 50°31.2 North – 34°02.6 West and was steering a 135° course, at a perfectly respectable speed of 13.8 knots.
Although the boat can no longer sail at her full potential in terms of speed, she can still manoeuvre without any problem as both her floats have rudders, neither of which sustained any damage in the incident. Current speed of 13 knots is quite normal for a boat on a delivery passage no longer under the pressure to perform to race standards.
Life on board is not wholly comfortable for the guys on board, but it remains perfectly safe.
So the trimaran is making way to La Trinité sur Mer where she will undergo repairs for the Grand Prix de Fécamp at the end of August. She will take 4-5 days to reach her Breton home port, thus sometime around Tuesday 20th July. Gitana 11 will never the less need to spend several weeks in the shed before being fighting fit.
As for Gitana X, Marc Guillemot and his crew have finally latched onto some wind and by midday Friday were sailing at 25 knots towards the Fastnet Rock. There is no way the trimaran can realistically hope to reach the leading trio but they are in with a chance of catching up with the peloton if the wind weakens before reaching Ireland which is reckoned to be the case this evening..
The crew sent a message to Gitana 11 : « Just heard the news. Bad luck for the crew on Gitana 11. Pleased to know however that everyone on board is fine and that you can make it home under your own steam. Thinking of you and doing our best to fly the Gitana Team colours as well as possible. Good luck.. »
Marco and the crew of Gitana X