Dominique Wavre puts out a Pan Pan as his keel is unable to withstand the considerable stresses
At 1015 GMT Dominique contacted his shore crew to alert them that the imposing steel part – weighing close to 100 kilos – which had been attached to the head of the keel in Kerguelen, wasn’t able to withstand the considerable stresses currently placed on this area of the boat.
Surprised by weather conditions which were more violent than forecast, the skipper is currently struggling to make headway in cross seas and a wind oscillating between 30 and 40 knots.
For the time being there is no way Dominique can envisage returning to Kerguelen. Were he to turn back, the boat would end up in headwinds, tacking upwind, slamming against what is already a very bad sea state. The damaged keel would not be able to withstand it.
Though he’s not requested assistance, the skipper has transmitted a Pan Pan. The CROSS (emergency services) and the Vendée Globe race management were immediately alerted to the skipper’s situation and are ensuring the regular monitoring of the boat’s positions. Though the skipper is currently preparing his grab bag and getting into his survival suit, he is not abandoning the boat for the time being.
Dominique is sailing at a reduced speed, with all his ballast tanks filled so as to make the boat as stable as possible. His two daggerboards are also limiting the boat’s movements as much as possible. Temenos II is managing to make headway under reduced sail – three reef mainsail and storm sail – making between 8 and 10 knots. He is managing to maintain a course of 45°, a heading unfortunately not far enough North to extract himself quickly from the continuous flow of depressions.