Joyon capsizes and is awaiting rescue, Open 50 run down by freighter and more trimarans retire

Scrub that last report about how well Francis Joyon is doing in the multihull class of the Route du Rhum. In the early hours of this morning, he became the latest to capsize in rough seas and is said to be OK but waiting for rescue and a tow. The press statement follows.

Meanwhile, the amazing-looking new Gitana X has broken her mast, Jean-Luc Nelias, sailing the ORMA 60 trimaran Belgacom has retired with mast track problems and Frederic Le Peutrec is also heading back in his new tri Bayer CropScience after autopilot failure. Of the 18 multihulls that started on Sunday, only 10 are currently racing now.

Even more concerning is the rescue yesterday of Christophe Huchet from the wreckage of his Open 50, Apic A3S, formerly Andy Darwent’s Heart of England. The boat was hit by freighter while dodging the busy shipping at Ushant. The boat is said to be severely damaged, possibly beyond salvage, and Huchet had to be rescued by a ship and taken to Brest. He had a dislocated shoulder and torn knee ligaments.

The Open 60 rankings as of this morning still show Sill in 1st place, with Mike Golding on Ecover in 2nd and Ellen MacArthur on Kingfisher in 3rd. The top three are separated by 23 miles. See

This is the press statement issued this morning about Joyon’s capsize:

‘At 01.30 hrs this morning Francis Joyon on Eure & Loire – Lorénove confirmed to the Race Committee that he just had capsized. He was 175 miles from La Corunã. The skipper is all right, he is onboard and has not asked for assistance.

‘Joyon was sailing close hauled in a very rough sea. He was on a manoeuvre at the foot of the mast when he was hit by a squall. “The boat was immediately lifted on one float and I rushed to the cockpit, but I did not have time to ease the sheets. The boat capsized in two seconds. At the moment I am hiding in the cockpit and I am trying to empty the boat with water. I will ask assistance from a tow boat. We will arrange all that today. Anyway I will not set off the distress beacon. I will stay on my boat, and I am not in distress and I do not need any further assistance.”‘