Vendée Globe sailor Thomas Ruyant's boat is splitting apart after a collision and he is making for New Zealand
Solo sailor Thomas Ruyant is in a perilous situation, with his IMOCA 60 cracking up like an egg shell and splitting apart. The 35-year-old Frenchman has sent back these shocking photos and video of his boat after it hit what he thinks could have been a shipping container.
He is south of New Zealand and is attempting to motor 260 miles north to Bluff, NZ, to safety, but admits that he is not sure if he will make it with the yacht in one piece.
His yacht, Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine, crashed into the object in the water yesterday, 18 December. Ruyant reported a “an exceptionally violent” bang.
Ruyant reported: “I have lowered the mainsail and am now motoring. I spent a few hours hove to. The damage at the front of the boat is spreading. The hull is opening up and the frame coming away a bit everywhere.
“I’m sailing to the south of New Zealand. I’m not sure if it will all stay in one piece until then. What’s good is that I’m in helicopter range, which is reassuring. I just have to push a button and they’ll come and get me. The inside hasn’t been affected and with my watertight doors, I’m sheltered.
“The shock was exceptionally violent. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it. I was at 17-18 knots and came to a sudden standstill hitting what was probably a container seeing the damage it has done to the hull.
“The whole of the forward section exploded and folded up. Luckily the boat was not dismasted. It was really very violent. I was sleeping on my beanbag and fortunately I had my head down in that, as I ended up hitting the mast bulkhead. I found things that were stowed in the stern right up against the forward bulkhead. They got thrown 10m forward.
“I’m not far from the coast and I think I must be close to a shipping lane, which is perhaps the cause, as I have seen several cargo vessels. It must be the shipping lane between New Zealand and Australia. Given the seas down here, there are probably several containers in the water. I think that is what I hit given the violence of the crash.
“[It has been] a nasty Vendée Globe. It’s over. I got halfway around the world. I’m upset that it has come to an end like this. I’ve had my share of problems. A lot of problems, but this one, I wouldn’t wish on anyone…”.