Marc Guillemot, one of the potential winners of the Vendée Globe and a hero from the last edition of the race, arrived back on the pontoon in Les Sables d’Olonne at just before 0300hrs on Sunday to assess the damage from a suspected collision. He was near the head of the fleet and had covered 50 miles when he heard ‘a loud bang’ at 1745hrs.
“There were two successive sounds in the space of a second. The first noise was quite violent,” he said surrounded by cameras on the pontoon. “I thought I had hit something while bouncing on a wave. I had the feeling that something hit the keel. Almost immediately there a more violent noise followed, and the boat began to heel sharply. The boat went from 100% to 22%.”
“I have not drawn any conclusion at the moment. I must conduct an inspection of the boat. I believe that the noise was not very healthy. My technical team will now dive under the boat to inspect it. In any case, I will not leave before 11am this morning due to the tide."
© Christophe FavreauThe 53-year-old Guillemot may take heart from the return of Michel Desjoyeaux, who re-started 40 hours behind the fleet in the last edition and still went on to win.
Guillemot crossed with his cousin, Bertrand de Broc, who had left pontoon just over an hour earlier to re-start the race. Guillemot became a hero in 2008-09 when he went to the aid of the stricken Yann Eliès in the Indian Ocean. In spite of this, problems with his mast and losing his keel in the last week, he still managed to finish third.