VIDEO: 40-knot winds rip race fleet

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The Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France, is renowned for delivering treacherous sea conditions.

So when the fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre set out on Sunday in 40 knots of wind and 20- to 23-foot seas, the result was not pretty. During the first days of the trans-Atlantic race five of the top contenders had to retire after capsizing or experiencing damage in the wild conditions.

The race starts in Le Havre and followa the historic coffee trading route between France and Brazil. Take a look at the highlights.

Among the damaged boats was the trimaran Prince De Bretagne, which capsized. Both sailors on board required a rescue by air. The rescue video appears to show a dicey situation, but the helicopter crew made quick work of evacuating both sailors without injury.