Pounding seas and mechanical problems are taking their toll on the sailors competing in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race.
After one full day of racing, at least eight boats have been forced to make for land for repairs. Canada's Derek Hatfield is among them, unfortunately. He turned Algimouss Spirit of Canada around today after 231 miles due to an electrical problem.
The rules of the race allow competitors to return only to Les Sables d'Olonne in the first 10 days of the competition.
Jonny Malbon remains in the race aboard Artemis. His support team's web site has a concise summary of the day's mishaps and the boats returning to shore:
Race favourite Michel Desjoyeux's Foncia sprung a leak;
Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss has a damaged hull;
Groupe Bel and Acquerelle.com have both been dismasted;
Temenos returned yesterday with an electrical problem;
Groupe Maisonneuve has a broken deck panel that will require several days to repair;
Cheminées Poujoulat is still in dock for repairs to a broken bowsprit.
In a race that lasts more than two months, losing a few days for repairs may not be all that bad. With favourable conditions, the boats could make up some of the lost time.
Loick Peyron's Gitana Eighty now leads the race. The two women, Dee Caffari and Samantha Davies, remain in contention in Aviva and Roxy.
A cold front is expected in the next few hours and the winds will grow stronger still, with gusts between 45 and 55 knots. Better weather is predicted in the days after the front passes.
Photo of Groupe Bel is courtesy of VendéeGlobe.com, Benoit Stichelbaut-----------
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