Fred Le Peutrec's yacht has sustained damage and is now heading towards La Trinité-sur-Mer

Half an hour after midnight, Fred Le Peutrec, a competitor in the Transat Québec-Saint Malo, called his HQ ashore to notify them that his trimaran Gitana XI had just been damaged in major way and that the crew was heading towards La Trinité-sur-Mer (Southern Brittany – France).

Commenting from the boat Le Peutrec said: “We are making way towards our home base in La Trinité sur Mer after a violent collision with something or other. The daggerboard was partly raised and the rudder of the central hull was snapped off and there is an ingress of water up front. Boat speed at the time was 25 knots and the transom is partly destroyed. It’s not serious as there is a watertight bulkhead aft. But there’s a fair bit of water in the middle hull. The crew is okay and no-one was injured. We have to save our batteries as we are no longer able to charge them. We’re 1,300 miles from our base in La Trinité sur Mer. Eveyrthing’s fine on board. We are able to handle this on our own and do not require any assistance.”

It was still daylight when the collision happened. The trimaran is not in any danger as both floats are intact, although an ingress of water has no doubt drowned the engine which is why the crew has dismounted the batteries so they don’t drown in seawater in the bilges.

Two hours later, the President of the Race Committee, René Boullaire, stated that Gitana was lying 49°57.2 North by 37°01.7 West at 13 knots, heading about 50° (north-east). At 3h00 Friday morning, Gitana 11 was still making 10 knots on the same heading. The fleet is sailing on the northern face of a high pressure system in relatively easy conditions with a 20-knot westerly breeze and a long north-westerly swell.

An update at 8h00 this morning, the skipper explained that the leak on a level with the dagger board casing had been repaired but that the engine alternator was not working any more. As a result, the batteries have lost their charge and the trimaran can no longer communicate by Inmarsat (telephone and e-mail). Her position is now being monitored by the Argos safety beacon. Gitana will take three to four days to reach the Breton coast, as she has been sailing at an average speed of just 10 knots over the past few hours.