Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Vendée Globe: PRB dismasts; Riou and Le Cam safe

[Source: Vendée Globe] At 1920 GMT, only a matter of an hour and 20 minutes since passing Cape Horn, Vincent Riou called his team to report that PRB has been dismasted.

Riou called his team and said bluntly: “We have been dismasted. We are in the islands.”

When the call was made PRB was in a position approximately 55 deg S and 65 deg 59 W, about 7.8 miles to the North West of the Cape Horn light. Both skippers Riou and Le Cam are safe and well.

He called back to his team about an hour later, saying that he did not want to issue a Mayday signal, but was trying to locate a suitable vessel to tow them, perhaps through the contacts of Isabelle Autissier. He had been on the phone to Isabelle discussing their planned rendezvous tomorrow not long before the mast collapsed.

They believe that the temporary lashing which they had made to the chainplate gave way.

They had around 25 knots of NW’ly wind when the rig came down but have a limited chance of setting a jury rig while they are in the islands. Riou and Le Cam acted quickly to cut away the rigging and free the broken mast. Since they cut the mast free PRB is reported to be drifting at 1.5 knots to a course of about 25 degrees, effectively away from the islands.

A PAN PAN call was made, a simple request to any available assistance, as opposed to the obligations of a Mayday. Vendée Globe Race Direction have been in contact with the Chilean authorities. The 32.7 m general purpose vessel Alacalufe of the Chilean Navy has been dispatched from Port Williams , 55 miles away. Making around 20 knots it is due to reach PRB around 0200hrs GMT.



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