At 23.45hrs UTC January 21st, while sailing in the third position of the Vendée Globe, about 500 miles northwest of the Cape Verde islands, Jean-Pierre Dick called his team to inform them that his boat, Virbac-Paprec 3, had lost its whole keel at 22.45hrs UTC. The skipper from Nice has stabilized the situation. The boat has full ballasts and Dick is sailing at 8 knots towards the Azores.
Jean-Pierre Dick told the race office by satellite phone:
“I was sailing on starboard tack under mainsail with one reef and the solent (sail), in 20 knots of wind. I was inside when the wind increased suddenly. I went out to adjust the sails. At that moment, I heard a loud bang.”
“Virbac-Paprec 3 went to the luff and was pushed on its side. I eased the mainsail sheet and solent sheet. I furled it (the solent). I went to the end of the boom and eased the running backstay. I went downwind smoothly and the boat slowly went back into the right position. I filled all the ballasts to stabilize the boat.”
“I am heading to the Azores at 8 knots with two reefs in the mainsail and with a staysail. The situation is stabilized and I think that there is no risk of capsizing. My dream of a podium finish in the Vendée Globe has suddenly sunk.”
Courtesy of www.vendeeglobe.org