Since yesterday, Sébastien Josse has had to face some very rough conditions ahead of a tropical low coming down from Madagascar. This morning, while sailing on the starboard tack in a westerly air stream blowing at between 30 and 35 knots and on heavy seas with waves in excess of 4m, the 60-foot monohull, Edmond de Rothschild got swept along on a wave and then ploughed into the bottom. The boat came to a sudden standstill and in the incident the port foil suddenly went right down. It slammed into the top of the housing, which damaged the upper part of the appendage and its trimming system. Sébastien Josse was inside when the incident occurred and was not injured.
In order to make safe the foil, which threatened to come out of its housing, which could have had serious consequences for the structural integrity of the hull in this part of the boat, Sébastien Josse gybed to change tack and continue on his starboard foil while trying to carry out temporary repairs. Gitana 16 was on a N-NE’ly heading towards Australia, but for safety reasons was unable to continue on this course for very long. Conditions are worsening to the north of this system that the sailor has been trying to avoid for the past 24 hours by making headway towards the east as quickly as possible along the Antarctic Exclusion Zone. According to the latest forecasts, in the north the sailor would likely be facing 50-knot winds and very heavy seas with 10 m high waves. Since 1300 UTC the 60-foot monohull Edmond de Rothschild has therefore returned to a SE’ly heading.
More information to follow in the coming hours.