Even though he thought he was going to be able to fix the hull of his boat, Vincent Riou found himself unable to find a solution regarding the shroud underneath his outrigger. It was therefore just not possible to consider sailing in the Southern Ocean and Vincent Riou's decision came this morning: He's surrendering in this 2012 Vendée Globe and retiring from the race.
Vincent Riou will not complete his 2013 circumnavigation. The PRB skipper had came up with a possible way to repair the hull of his boat, the shroud underneath the outrigger was a much more serious problem. Riou started working on his hull on Saturday afernoon while Denis Glehen and the rest of the shore crew were brainstorming to find a solution for the French skipper. Unfortunately, they all had to resign themselves to admit it was impossible for Vincent to secure that shroud underneath the outrigger by himself with the equipment he had on board. Sailing through the Southern Ocean with a mast that could break any time was simply not reasonable. Vincent's decision came this morning: He's surrendering in this 2012 Vendée Globe, his third, and retiring from the race.
An emotional Riou announced it with tears in his eyes. "My decision will be based on whether I can sail through the Southern Ocean in safe conditions or not", the French skipper had explained a few minutes after the collision. These conditions cannot be guaranteed and he PRB skipper is therefore sailing to Brazil where he will repair his monohull. He should reach Salvador de Bahia in three days.
Resigning to retire from the race because of a collision with a FO (floating object) is a very tough situation as the disappointment is mixed with a feeling of injustice for the sailor who so far had sailed his monohull very carefully. The winner of the 2004-2005 Vendée Globe knew he still had a long way to go and was aware of how important it was to enter the Southern Ocean with a boat intact that could face extreme sea and wind conditions. The race is now over for the PRB skipper, one of the favourites, and he will now no longer be battling against the other competitors in the South.
The Vendée Globe is one of the most demanding races in the world of sailing billed as the Everest of the seas. It is also arguably the most beautiful, and sometimes the toughest, too. This weekend is definitely an unfair one for Riou and his PRB boat.
"It was such a tough decision" said Rio, "but it's also the most reasonable one. I had had this goal, the Vendée Globe, in mind for years and I spent so much energy on this project. I'm terribly disappointed, and I'm also thinking of my partners, PRB of course, but also Bouyer Leroux and Mercedes. PRB has been supporting me for ten years, they've trusted me. Even though what happened, the collision and the damage to the boat, is not my fault, I can't help feeling guilty. I felt really good in the race, our boats have such an impressive potential that I know the fight in the South will be completely different this year. The bar is will be very high and I would have loved to be part of that fight. A game that I would have died to be part of!"
PRB CEO Jean-Jacques Laurent said "The entire PRB team is behind Vincent. He was doing so well in the race but nature chose to stop him. These damages to the boat definitely give us a sense of unfinished business because Vincent was preparing for the South with a lot of determination. Our hearts go out to him.
Meanwhile, Armel Le Cléac´h, Banque Populaire, leads from François Gabart, MACIF with Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac Paprec 3 moving up to third.
Vendee Globe Website