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11 December 2008, 10:48 am
PEYRON Dismasts in the Indian Ocean
Gitana 80
Gitana 80 at the start of the Vendee Globe

Vendée Globe 2008-09
Les Sables d'Olonne, France

Loïck PEYRON has reported to the Course Direction early yesterday afternoon that he had dismasted.
Loïck PEYRON, who had already fully endorsed his ranking as one of the popular favourites to win this Vendée Globe, reported to the Course Direction early yesterday afternoon that he had dismasted. PEYRON, who had lead the pack down the Atlantic for 16 days, was down below in his Farr designed Gitana Eighty studying weather information when he heard a very loud bang. When he got in deck his immediate fears were realized when he found his mast in three or four pieces. Said PEYRON, "There was 30 knots of breeze and Gitana Eighty was under one reef mainsail and solent. There was no reason for the boat to be under pressure and everything was going very well aboard when the mast fell violently without any warning."

He spent more than an hour and a half cutting free the rig and sails. PEYRON is only left with the boom and had set about building a jury rig with it. He will now see how Gitana Eighty performed under jury rig, before making a decision where he would head too. Cape Town is about 1850 miles to his NNW and Cape Leeuwin, Australia about 3000 miles to the east. The French skipper reported that there was no damage to the hull and that he was uninjured and in good physical shape. Winds were around 30 knots, he was sailing under single reefed main and Solent headsail.

Remarked Mike GOLDING from Ecover 3, "Gitana's dismasting s very bad news for the race as Loïck is such a great ambassador for sailing and French sailing in particular. Conditions are pretty wild, 20kts plus of boatspeed, diving down steep awkward waves with winds ranging between 22 and 35kts from the west. Also add to this that last night was so very cold (SST 3C) that even in full layer thermals and inside my sleeping bag I just could not sleep. So I got up made a drink, hunkering down over the stove. Then I charged the batteries which was a great excuse to have the engine on to warm up the nav station. Then with an almost endless stream of hot drinks of all description I sat and trimmed sails and the pilot for many hours - probably in part accounting for my big gains this morning."

Race tracking: http://tracking.vendeeglobe.org/en

Standings as of 18:30 UTC (Top 5 of 30 entrants):
1. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Paprec-Virbac 2, 15925.0 nm Distance to finish
2. Sébastien Josse (FRA), BT, 9.9 nm Distance to leader
3. Roland Jourdain (FRA), Veolia Environnement, 27.3 nm DTL
4. Mike Golding (GBR), Ecover, 35.1nm DTL
5. Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), Foncia, 35.4 DTL

Click here for all the news on the Vendée Globe.

ISAF (source: Véronique Teurlay)
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