Bestaven becomes third French skipper to quit after losing mast

Updated: November 12, 2008, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

LES SABLES D'OLONNE, France -- Yannick Bestaven abandoned the Vendee Globe solo around-the-world yacht race, the third French skipper to quit after losing his mast.

Bestaven's mast snapped during a storm Monday, and he was heading back to Les Sables d'Olonne to repair the damages.

"I've thrown away all the work we've done for the past year," Bestaven told the race Web site Tuesday night. "It's the worst thing that could have happened to me. I'm exhausted, disgusted to see our world tour end this way."

French skipper Sebastien Josse had a narrow lead over Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron.

Rough seas also forced Marc Thiercelin and Kito de Pavant to quit after losing their masts. Several other sailors have experienced problems because of the heavy weather during the sixth edition of the single-handed race and returned to port for repairs.

Alex Thomson's Hugo Boss was flooding because of a crack on the port side hull. Derek Hatfield encountered electrical problems. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty had cracks in the deck, port and starboard.

"A wave that was more violent than the others lifted up the boat. It felt a bit like floating in space. The boat came crashing down," Dejeanty said after returning to Les Sables d'Olonne early Wednesday. "It was like a gun going off inside the boat. My ears were ringing."

Dejeanty hopes to rejoin the race.

"I think the boat has done well given the violence of the impact," Dejeanty said. "We'll see what we can do. An engineer is on his way and an expert should be here later [Wednesday] to look at the damage more closely."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE