The Vendée Globe's number one superstar dismasting is a sad day for the media
It’s a crying shame. The dismasting of Loick Peyron’s Gitana Eighty today means the elimination of the Vendée Globe’s numero uno superstar, and it robs the race of something special.
There are other sailors out there with similar talent and experience. The difference is Peyron’s charisma. He came into the IMOCA 60s with an imperial aura and gave it a glossy patina of sophistication.
He won every race since the boat’s launch in 2007 and seemed to up the stakes in every area. I remember him making a victor’s appearance at the Transat prizegiving in June. He stood out among crews in rumpled shirts and flip-flops, a cut above, dressed in a blazer, what looked like a club tie and white shoes.
Peyron joked to the crowd in fluent English and poked a bit of well-judged, mischievous fun at his rivals. He flourished a cigarette holder, as if he’d stepped off the set of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and if they’d had a Steinway to hand, I wouldn’t have been a bit surprised if he’d tapdanced over and rattled off the Moonlight Sonata.
So it’s a sad, sad day for the media that Peyron’s out. But let’s be practical: please can the Vendée Globe book this super trouper to headline the gig in four years’ time?
Meanwhile, Peyron has a difficult and trying feat of seamanship ahead. If, as his team is intimating, he sails on to Australia under jury rig, 3,000 miles downwind, that will be quite an epic.