At 1545 UTC on Sunday, the 60-foot monohull, Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine skippered by Thomas Ruyant, currently taking part in the eighth Vendée Globe, collided with a UFO. Thomas then discovered an ingress of water in the sail locker in the bow. The incident also caused damage to the starboard rudder, the bottom frame as well as some other structural damage in particular to the deck of the boat. The sailor from NE France is fine and has not asked for assistance.
“Thomas is in the process of carrying out an appraisal of the damage and ensuring his boat can sail without suffering. He has already prepared his safety gear in case the situation worsens. At the time of the incident, he was sailing in winds blowing in excess of forty knots and on very heavy seas. Thomas is trying to find a solution to make his way to New Zealand,” explained Laurent Bourgués, technical director of Le Souffle du Nord.
The Vendée Globe Race Directors are in contact with the New Zealand maritime rescue authorities, in case the skipper asks for help, should the situation deteriorate.