British Vendée Globe hopeful Sam Goodchild has lost his IMOCA 60 mast 150 miles from the island of Santa Maria in the Azores

Sam Goodchild, one of the leading contenders for this autumn’s Vendée Globe solo around the world race, has dismasted on his IMOCA 60 Vulnerable (formerly For The Planet) while racing in the New York – Vendée transatlantic race

Goodchild was 4th at the time of the dismasting, sailing 150 miles from the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, and has been frequently racing within sight of Jérémie Beyou on Charal.

Shortly before the dismasting, Goodchild posted on social media a video of him sailing in around 20 knots of wind, upwind, with a single reef in the mainsail. He had torn his mainsail, though it was below the reefing point so did not require an immediate repair.

The skipper is safe and unhurt. Goodchild managed to build a jury rig and is heading for shore.

The New York – Vendée is the final major qualifying race ahead of the Vendée Globe. At the start of the race Goodchild was lying 36th on the Vendée Globe qualification table, for 39 confirmed places, with one wild card still to be awarded.

Yesterday he also posted a video saying that “Whatever happens now we’re pretty sure to be qualified for the Vendée Globe, so a little victory!”

Goodchild, 34, is British born, though he spent much of his childhood in the Caribbean on his parent’s liveaboard cruising yacht. He lives in France, and is part of a unique two-boat programme called TR Racing with top French IMOCA talent Thomas Ruyant. Goodchild sails Ruyant’s previous generation IMOCA. The two boats were previously campaigned as For People and For the Planet, and now both race as Vulnerable.

Goodchild, who previously skippered Figaros and a Multi 50 trimaran, as well as racing MOD 70s and with PRB in The Ocean Race, has had a stellar start to his first IMOCA campaign to set himself up as among the most competitive skippers in a last generation IMOCA.

Last year he finished 3rd in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race, 3rd in the Défi Azimut-Lorient, 3rd in the Transat Jacques Vabre and 3rd in the Retour a La Base. He did not compete in the Transat CIC, taking a rest while his team delivered his boat to New York, and was trading places with 3rd and 4th when he was dismasted.

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