A plethora of problems and damage force the dogged Frenchman to seek help and pull out of the race

After several days of anticipation, Marc Thiercelin finally confirmed his retirement from his third Vendée Globe at 1000 GMT yesterday. He was clearly upset at the day’s radio session after what is the first ever time he has not been able to complete a race in his entire sailing career, always endeavouring to finish what he sets out to do. “Lots of things are knocking around in my head ; you have to accept that there’s nothing you can do and bounce back.”

Having arrived at the Bay of Akaroa in New Zealand yesterday, the skipper from La Rochelle was able to quickly analyse the state of his boat. He decided that he was unable to complete the repairs alone and will call in outside assistance in the knowledge that the act will put him out of the race.

“There is too much to do. I don’t have the right material aboard to make repairs to everything that is damaged on ProForm. I am forced to request outside assistance. It’ll take me ten days to do the necessary work to get the boat back into shape”. Marc then hopes to head toward the Pacific Ocean again and complete his round the world single-handed. He will make the repairs himself with the help of a couple of people he got to know during a stopover during the BOC Challenge in 1998.

This retirement is the epilogue of a long series of hitches he has had since leaving Les Sables d’Olonne on 7 November. Having suffered a great deal in the race during the first weeks of the Vendée Globe 2004, Thiercelin had a destroyed bow sprit, broken mainsail traveller cars, leaks, no internet access (and thus no weather data).

It was finally a weakness in his masthead that forced Pro Form to divert to New Zealand. In his disappointment, Marc Thiercelin said during the radio session that he didn’t want to doing another single-handed round the world race. “The Vendée Globe is over for me. You have to know when to stop. It’s the increase in the amount of work which requires an enormous amount of investment. I have other projects in lots of other domains. The programme with ProForm isn’t over yet either; there is still the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Route du Rhum? “