All news

A look back on abandons

Out of the 20 starting skippers, 9 had to pull out of the race, making the ratio of this 2012-2013 Vendée Globe quite similar to the previous editions, and even a little better when compared to the 2008 – 2009 Vendée Globe, which featured the same number of finishers but 10 more boas at the start. The race route is such a long and difficult one that finishing the single-handed, non-stop round-the-world race is a true achievement. Even though collision risk is statistically low, there are many hazards and the beginning of the 7th edition has shown how cruelly bad luck can strike.

Safran_PRB_BureauVallée_Maître CoQ

© Kito de Pavant / Groupe BelAfter two days of race only, Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) hit a fishing boat and immediately had to pull out of the race. The same thing happened to Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) who initially tried to sail back to Les Sables d'Olonne to fix his damaged monohull but who had to resign and abandon the race in the end. On November 17, Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) broke his keel jack 130 miles northwest of Cape Verde and abandoned two days later. The post-incident analysis showed he had probably hit an UFO, which had made the part too fragile to last. On day 15, a very unlucky Vincent Riou (PRB) hit a large drifting buoy as he was sailing off the coast of Brazil. His damaged hull and outrigger forced him to give up continuing the race on the next day and Riou became the fourth 2012-2013 Vendée globe skipper to pull out of the race after a collision.

Material damages

© François Van Malleghem / DPPI / SAFRANThe list of technical issues started with Marc Guillemot (Safran) who lost his keel less than five hours after the start of the race. On November 15, Samantha Davies’ Savéol dismasted 100 miles northwest of Madeira. After several days spent trying to solve his autopilot problems, Zbigniew « Gutek » Gutkowski (Energa) also had to pull out of the race on November 21. He stopped in the Canary Islands and was the last skipper to abandon in the Atlantic.



A lenient Southern Ocean

© Jean-Marie Liot / DPPIThere was some good news, though, as the usually formidable Southern Ocean turned out to be gentler than expected in this edition. Sure, the weather was very rough at times but the ice gates kept the Vendée Globe skippers away from the most threatening depressions. After several stops south of New Zealand in order to secure the bottom plate of his hydrogenerators, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) ran out of energy and had to accept extra fuel from an outside source after rounding Cape Horn. This assistance forced him to officially pull out of the race on January 9, closing the case opened by the jury that had initially disqualified him for getting assistance in his first stop in New Zealand. In the morning of January 22, Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3) announced he had lost his keel during the night as he was sailing 500 miles northwest of Cape Verde. The French skipper eventually managed to reach Les Sables d'Olonne after 2,650 miles covered on a completely ballasted, keel-less and undersailed monohull.

Another keel issue

© Força Aérea PortuguesaOn February 3, Spain’s Javier Sanso (ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered) was not that lucky. His keel broke, instantly capsizing his monohull 360 south of the Azores. He was winched up in a helicopter on the next night and taken to Terceira Island. Other keel issues include Mike Golding’s (Gamesa), as the English skipper was sailing up the Atlantic Ocean, as well as Bernard Stamm’s broken keel jack attachment system right before the Swiss reached Les Sables d'Olonne unranked. As the skippers finished the race, keels became an obvious topic of reflection for the IMOCA and they will definitely be among the hot issues discussed in the IMOCA general meeting in April.


2012-2013 Vendée Globe abandons:

November 10: Marc Guillemot (Safran), lost keel.

November 12: Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), hit a fishing boat.

November 16: Samantha Davies (Savéol), dismasting on November 15.

November 16: Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée), hit a fishing boat on November 14.

November 19: Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ), keel jack problem on November 17.

November 21: Zbigniew Gutkowski (Energa), autopilot issue.

November 25: Vincent Riou (PRB), hit an UFO on November 24.

January 9: Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) received fuel from an outside source after hitting an UFO and losing his hydrogenerators. Stamm had also been disqualified by the international jury on January 2 for receiving assistance from the Russian boat Professor Kkoromov. The case had been reopened but the decision confirmed on Janaury 12.

February 3: Javier Sansó (ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered), capsised off the Azores after losing his keel.

Share this article

Latest news