Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee Globe

Virbac Paprec 3 loses her keel

Mid-Atlantic disaster for Jean-Pierre Dick

Tuesday January 22nd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

At 2345 UTC, 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 around an hour earlier.

The skipper from Nice has stabilised the situation. The boat has full ballast 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, 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 rounded up and started to fall on her side. I eased the mainsail and solent sheets and furled the solent. I eased the running backstay. I bore away smoothly and the boat slowly came upright. Then I filled all the water ballast tanks to stabilise the boat.

"I am heading to the Azores at 8 knots with two reefs in the mainsail and with a staysail. The situation has been stabilised and I think that there is no risk of capsizing. My dream of a podium finish in the Vendée Globe has suddenly sunk.”

We have yet to hear exactly where Virbac Paprec 3's keel has broken. However she has a machined steel keel foil, which is supposed to be one of the safest and most reliable options (over carbon or fabricated steel).

Read more about Virbac Paprec 3 here.

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