Two skippers, including the only woman in the competition, on Friday abandoned what is called “the world's most grueling yacht race,” the solo, non-stop, round-the-world Vendee Globe, organizers said.
The event, held every four years, has been especially rough on competitors in the early stages of the race.
French sailor Louis Burton, whose boat Bureau Vallee was hit by a trawler, pulled out after wind conditions made it impossible for him to return to Les Sables d'Olonne in western France to repair a damaged shroud — rigging that holds up the mast. The collision happened about 400 nautical miles off the coast of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
Although retired from the 2012-13 race, Burton says he will be back in four years.
British sailor Samantha Davies, 38, dismasted on Thursday evening in strong winds about 130 nautical miles northeast of Madeira.
“The hard thing is that when the mast falls down, it falls to leeward so the boat is being pushed on top of the mast so I could hear the mast rubbing against the hull and down the whole side of the hull and under the boat,” Davies told organizers on a conference call Friday morning to confirm that she would take no further part in the race, adding that she was disappointed. “So the main thing was to close all the watertight bulkheads in case it did get pierced so I put my survival suit on because it is the best way to go out and check everything on deck …”