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The Fall of the Apple Tree – a Gallic Tale of Bad Luck

Vendee

The Fall of the Apple Tree – a Gallic Tale of

Bad

Luck

Again, as part of our deal with joss, we are donating $100 to Doctors Without Borders.

I’ve been trying to write that bloody article for three days now, as each time I click the "send" button something horrible happens on the race course – or should we say the ring? Anyhow, having to tweak a text over and over is nothing compared to what the guys are enduring down there, and it seems like there’s an escalation in the degrees of cruelty – It’s horribly frustrating for the skippers who broke some gear (masts, rudders) earlier on in the race and had to retire, it’s been pretty scary for Yann Eliès and Le Cam as for these two "survival mode" was not only rhetoric, now it’s downright infuriating for Vincent Riou.

One can only pay tribute to Vincent’s extraordinary seamanship, and his epic manoeuvre to save VM’s skipper is undoubtedly reminiscent of Loïck Peyron’s rescue of Poupon in the inaugural Vendée Globe… Funny that, when you (or me, for that matter) remember that a few months ago, Riou was boarding Peyron’s boat in the Atlantic, leaving PRB behind due to keel failure in the Artemis Transat! From salvaged to savior in less than a year, fate certainly has peculiar ways of manifesting itself sometimes, but Riou definitely could have done without fate’s backfire, which was not funny at all. Vincent’s dismasting unfortunately brings to mind the same incident that had happened in the 2006 Route du Rhum, when the then new PRB was making her grand debut… and the spar breakage PRB had to endure in the Barcelona World Race in 2007 also springs to mind. This time of course, fate is adding insult to injury – is that the way a brave gesture is rewarded? Circling around the upturned and bulb-less VM (could that explain the sudden loss of karmic equilibrium which lead to the capsize? Call 1-800-SHERLOCK if you think you have the answer) – without an engine, mind you – Vincent hit the keel fin with his outrigger on his final and decisive approach, and it was a matter of hours before the mast eventually fell down.