Skipper Kito de Pavant, who was unharmed in the accident, had to abandon the competition and steer his damaged yacht to the southern Portuguese port of Cascais less than 48 hours into the race.
Damage to Groupe Bel included a broken boom.
“The 2012 Vendee Globe is over for me, for Groupe Bel, for all those people who have followed me in this adventure…it was a stupid accident, really stupid, I’m sorry,” de Pavant said in a video recording posted on the Vendee’s official website.
According to reports, the trawler’s AIS (automatic identification system) was switched off at the time of the accident 70 nautical miles north of Cascais.
De Pavant’s technical team are heading to Portugal to await the arrival of the stricken boat, which is expected late Monday.
This is the second incident to befall the race since the start off Les Sables d’Olonne, in western France, on Saturday.
On Sunday Marc Guillemot, one of the favorites for yachting’s ultimate prize, had to quit when the keel on his boat Safran suffered irreparable damage.
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