Groupe Bel v the whale
Shortly after 13:00, as they were sailing under spinnaker towards the Canaries in fifth place in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale, the Groupe Bel Figaro had a violent collision with a whale, which literally ripped off the starboard rudder. Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Audigane are well but are currently having to reroute to the island of Tenerife.
Groupe Bel is still making progress at 7.5 knots and should reach the island, 60 nautical miles away, in roughly ten hours.
Warned immediately, the Groupe Bel team is now organising for Technical Manager, Hervé Giorsetti to travel from Port Camargue to Tenerife in the next few hours, in order to deliver a new rudder to the crew. The sailors, will then decide whether or not to resume the race.
Although they are in good physical health, de Pavant and Audiagne are dispirited; they who have been fighting in the leading group since the start of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale in Concarneau Sunday before last.