Solo sailor Vincent Riou's violent encounter with a basking shark


Talk about tales of the unexpected. Vincent Riou, who was rescued from his Open 60 PRB yesterday in the North Atlantic after the keel was badly damaged, says he collided with a basking shark and cut it in two.

“I saw two portions emerge at the back of the boat,” Riou commented, with forensic accuracy.

I find myself craving more information. Did he cut in half crossways or lengthwise? What did the ‘portions’ look like?

These boats are so fast they are increasingly sneaking up unawares on whales and sharks – there have been four collisions and at least 10 other whale sightings on the Artemis Transat.

But that’s not quite as amazing as the leading edge of a canting keel chopping a 40ft shark in half. You can’t class these incidents as normal marine collisions any more; this is roadkill.