What is Vincent Riou's claim for redress for his dismasting in the Vendée Globe really all about?


Because he was dismasted as a result of rig damage suffered during the rescue of Jean Le Cam last week, Vendée Globe skipper Vincent Riou has asked for redress and reclassification. He’s been granted it in principle, but exactly how will that work and what is it really all about?

My first thought is that this is purely practical. Riou’s race is sadly over in competitive terms, but what he is after I think is either an acknowledgement of the financial loss incurred as a result of the rescue (dismasting is usually not covered by insurance in this class) and/or the prize money that would have gone with the 4th place he had in his sights – perhaps both.

The monies are allocated on a sliding scale from ?150,000 for 1st place and it goes to the skipper.

I really can’t see any way that the race jury could possibly place Riou as if he were a finisher, much less give him a place ahead of someone who raced the remaining 6,000 miles. But the claim for redress might give authenticity to claim for the dismasting against Jean Le Cam’s insurance, and if that doesn’t work out, you never know, there could be a little pay-out equivalent to the prizemoney behind the scenes.

But although the reason is surely coldly practical – Riou is a coldly practical man – it’s at the risk of leaving a slightly sour taste after such a heroic rescue.