With just under three weeks to the start one boat pulls out and one signs a deal with a new sponsor

Charles Hedrich withdraws
Charles Hedrich, the skipper of the monohull Objectif 3, came out of his silence this morning to announce his retirement from the Vendée Globe. The decision was made following a difference of opinion between Hedrich and the owner of the boat.

Brother signs up with Sedlacek
Better news for the Austrian Norbert Sedlacek (formerly Austria One) who has just closed a deal with his partner Brother, enabling him to fully prepare his boat ready for the race. The 60ft Austria One now bears the name Brother.

Serene testing of the boats
The entire Vendée Globe fleet will have received a visit from the scrutineers by this evening. Sylvie Viant, President of the race committee commented: “The sealing can now begin which involves immobilising various pieces of the onboard equipment: the interior liferafts, the batteries, the survival water tank (9 litres), the keels, and finally the sealing of the motors which will be done the week prior to the start. The whole of the fleet is more or less ready which is fairly satisfying nearly threee weeks from the start.”