UPDATE: Kito de Pavant, the 55 years old French skipper of Bastide-Otio, who suffered damage to his keel when racing in the remote South Indian Ocean while racing in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race, was successfully recovered from his stricken yacht around 0100hrs TU this morning and taken aboard the research and supply ship Marion Dufresne II approximately 110 miles north of the Crozet Islands. The solo skipper was immediately assessed by the ship’s doctor. De Pavant is uninjured but is extremely tired and disappointed. Follow the race here.
At 0800 UTC this morning (Tuesday), the Vendée Globe Race Directors were alerted by Kito de Pavant’s technical team about serious damage aboard his boat Bastide Otio. Kito de Pavant, who was sailing at 16 knots under mainsail with two reefs in very heavy seas, informed his shore team that the boat had experienced a very big shock to the keel, hitting an unidentified floating object, which has led to a significant ingress of water aboard the boat.
I hit something hard with the keel. It was a violent shock and the boat came to a standstill. The rear bearings of the keel were ripped off and the keel is hanging under the boat kept in place simply by the keel ram, which is in the process of cutting through the hull… The keel housing has been destroyed and there is a huge ingress of water there, but for the moment, it is limited to the engine compartment. I currently have forty knots of wind and 5-6m high waves. The boat is stopped. I brought down the mainsail so that she is heeling less. The situation has been stabilised for the moment. I have my survival kit alongside me. Someone is going to have to come and get me. I am trying to contact the Marion Dufresne to ask them to come here.