Alone and battered by 60-knot winds, a 69-year old solo sailor was waiting to be rescued from the Southern Ocean last night.
Dutch sailor Nico Budel was hoping to be picked up today by the 17,000-tonne bulk carrier CSK Radiance, bound for Rotterdam but diverted by the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Reunion, Indian Ocean.
He was taking part in the Portimao Global Ocean Race when the torpedo bulb at the base of the keel on his Open 40 Hayai twisted and he put out a Mayday (m'aidez) call 240 miles north east of the remote research station on the Crozet Islands.
He was on the second leg of a round the world race organised by British solo sailor Josh Hall, which takes the competitors from Portimao, southern Portugal to Cape Town, on to Wellington, New Zealand, up to Ilhabela, Brazil, and then to Charleston, USA, before returning across the Atlantic to Portimao.
Also abandoning his attempt to win the non-stop Vendée Globe round the world race was Seb Josse, skipper of BT from the Ellen MacArthur stable in Cowes.
He had been flattened by vicious winds on Boxing Day and had been making his way north to assess damage both to the deck and the rudders.
Yesterday he said that damage to the port rudder made further racing progress impossible and that he was heading for New Zealand, probably Auckland.
That effectively pushes Sam Davies up to seventh place and she is rapidly catching the man ahead of her, Jean-Pierre Dick, who is also struggling with damaged rudders. "I am trying to make headway as best I can with a broken rudder," he said yesterday. "I'm a little sceptical still. Some pieces of the carbon have broken off. Tomorrow I should be able to carry out better repairs. My goal is still to complete the race.”
As Derek Hatfield will also have to retire following broken mast spreaders, this means that 14 of the original 30 starters from Les Sables d'Olonne on 9 November have mow abandoned. Generali, from which Yann Elies was recued by the Australian Navy with a broken leg, was officially declared lost at sea yesterday after radio beacon signals ceased. Elies is to be flown from Perth to France on Wednesday. Brian Thompson is ninth and has now retaken Dee Caffari while Steve While moves up to 12th, 800 miles ahead of Jonny Malbon, who is 3,800 miles behind the leader, Michel Desjoyeaux. Five of the seven British competitors are still racing.
Desjoyeaux, the 2000 winner, is 90 miles ahead of Roland Jourdain and now 2,500 miles from Cape Horn.