First casualties in Route du Rhum

All the boats, other than the 60ft tris got away in relatively mild conditions today, not all successfully reports James Boyd

Saturday November 9th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic

At 1630 local time, just five minutes after rounding the turning mark at Cap Frehel, 20 miles down the course, disaster struck Sebastien Josse's Open 60 VMI (formerly Thomas Coville's Sodebo) which dismasted.

At the time VMI had two reefs in. The wind had dropped further and Josse had just thrown out the third reef. Exact details of why this occurred are sketchy at present, but the mast fell over intact, so it is believed to have been a rigging failure on the port side.

Josse was not hurt and the young former Figaro sailor cut the rig free and is currently returning to port. It is unlikely that he will restart. The position of the rig is known and Josse says he will be attempting to salvage it. However it is believed to be very broken as it crashed down on the hull.

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