virbac-paprec 3 loses keel

Breaking News: While sailing in third place in the Vendée Globe about 500 miles northwest of the Cape Verde islands, Jean-Pierre Dick on Virbac-Paprec 3  lost its  keel at 23:45 pm (French time). The skipper from Nice has stabilized the situation and the boat is in place, filled ballasts, and sailing at 8 knots towards the Azores with apparently little chance of capsizing. Story here and thread in Ocean Racing Anarchy is here.

UPDATE from Dick:  I heard a big bang – a big noise, and the boat started to heel quite quickly, luffing up. At the same time, I let out the main sail quickly and the boom went into the water.  The boat then got knocked down rather violently, with the solent sheeted in hard.  The boat stayed knocked down quite long, enough for the wind to soften and the squall to pass.  At that point, I was able to bear away slowly.  The running backstay was on the wrong side of the boom.  I was nevertheless able to bear away and then furl the solent.  I climbed onto the boom to pass the runner onto the right side.  The boat is now on a stable course at around 8kts, heading 330, which is 80 degrees off the wind.’