Damage to Safran Forces Vendée Globe Retirement

Published on November 24th, 2016

(November 24, 2016; Day 19, 18:54 UTC) – Following the damage to the steering late this morning, the skipper of Safran, Morgan Lagravière has confirmed he is retiring from the Vendée Globe, in agreement with his team and partner.

Contacted by his team this afternoon, Morgan explained, “I had a tough night with autopilot worries. I had between 20-25 knots of wind and the boat was impossible to control. I broached 4 or 5 times. While taking a nap towards midday, I felt the boat going over. When I went outside, I could see that the leeward rudder had come out of its attachment and that two-thirds of it was missing. I think it was the result of hitting an unidentified floating object.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have what is required to be able to repair such damage, and so it is over for me. I would like to remember the positive things in this adventure: 18 days of extraordinary racing aboard a boat that performs exceptionally well, with which I was always up with the frontrunners. This solo race was also an opportunity for me to find out more about myself and what really matters in life. I would like to thank all my technical team as well as the fans, who have been supporting me.”

Morgan is currently sailing towards Cape Town (South Africa), which he should reach in three days.

Philippe Petitcolin, General Director of Safran, stressed his support for the young skipper: “This is a huge disappointment for Morgan, the Safran Sailing Team, as well as for everyone, who works at Safran and who passionately followed the boat during this adventure. Since the start in Les Sables d’Olonne, the duo Morgan – Safran showed itself to be strong enough to take up this challenge, remaining in the lead group all the time. Morgan showed his competitive spirit and determination, matching the values of Safran. On behalf of all those who work in the Group, I extend my support to him in this difficult moment.”

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The eighth Vendée Globe, which began November 6 from Les Sables d’Olonn, France, is the only non-stop solo round the world race without assistance. Twenty-nine skippers representing four continents and ten nations set sail on IMOCA 60s in pursuit of the record time set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 race of 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.

For the first time in the history of the event, seven skippers will set sail on IMOCA 60s fitted with foils: six new boats (Banque Populaire VIII, Edmond de Rothschild, Hugo Boss, No Way Back, Safran, and StMichel-Virbac) and one older generation boat (Maitre Coq). The foils allow the boat to reduce displacement for speed gains in certain conditions. It will be a test to see if the gains can topple the traditional daggerboard configuration during the long and demanding race.

November 19, Day 14 – Bertrand de Broc, MACSF, UFO collision
November 22, Day 17 – Vincent Riou, PRB, UFO collision
November 24, Day 19 – Morgan Lagravière, Safran, UFO collision


Source: Vendee Globe

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