Whirlpool was sailing upwind in 20 knots of wind from the North East, heading 97 degrees on port tack, when the Open 60, skippered by Catherine Chabaud, dismasted at 0235hrs French time on Tuesday morning.
After calling her shore team, Catherine undertook the painstaking operation to cut away the rig and clear the debris from the deck, to limit any further damage to the hull. The greatest danger in this situation is that the mast could perforate the hull, knocking against the side of the boat while it remains attached via the rigging. This took 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete. No spar was saved in the process, and the lifelines and stanchions on the starboard side, as well as the antenna holder at the stern, which contains the antenna for the Argos beacon, were ripped off. Whirlpool was at 42.41 North and 13.27 West and was drifting at 3 knots on a heading of 230 in 25 knots of wind.
Catherine Chabaud decided to start her motor at 0516hrs and thus declared herself to be outside the race rankings from that point. Situated at 250 miles from Vigo, the Spanish port, she has 90 litres of fuel, which will only get her between 60 - 100 miles, depending on the sea state, nearer to land. Not having the means herself to get into port, her
shore team is doing everything in their power to assist her.
Marc Thiercelin (Active Wear) crossed the finish line of the Vendee Globe in 4th position at 1248 hrs and 49 seconds.
The French skipper has spent 102 days, 20 hours, 37 minutes and 49 seconds at sea. His elapsed time after winner Michel Desjoyeaux (PRB) is 9 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 17 seconds.
He remarked: "The rookies got to the podium, good on them. It's one heck of a race, and I'll try to recount it all bit by bit. The last stage was interminable. Whatever direction I headed in, the wind was always on the nose. My first circumnavigation was idyllic, just pure fun. I have lasting impressions from it still. The second was very tough. The third testing, tactical. The guys ahead got all the breaks, but not those behind."
Ranking polled at 1400UTC 20/2/01
Boat Skipper Speed DTF
1 PRB Desjoyeaux Arrive - 93d 3h 57m 32s
2 Kingfisher MacArthur Arrive - 94d 4h 25m 40s (+ 1d 0h 28m 8s)
3 SILL Matines La Potagere Jourdain Arrive - 96d 1h 2m 33s (+ 2d 22h 5m)
4 Active Wear Marc Thiercelin Arrive - 102d 20h 37m 49s (+9d 16h 40m 17s)
5 Union Bancaire Privee Dominique Wavre 7,44 244
6 Sodebo Savourons la Vie Thomas Coville 6.28 317