Having posted a superb start to the race and whilst leading the westerly group at the last ranking, Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier have just announced their retirement. It’s a terribly tough decision for the two competitors but one dictated by their seamanship and the desire to get the most recent of the Gitana fleet safely back to port.
The crew is in good health and has not requested assistance. The Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild has turned back and is making for its home port of Lorient, south-west Brittany, which it should reach late afternoon tomorrow.
At 18:00 GMT, the Edmond de Rothschild duo contacted Cyril Dardashti, Director of the Gitana Team, to inform him of their desire to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015. Sébastien Josse explains his reasoning to us: “Since this afternoon, we’ve been experiencing a series of incidents aboard Edmond de Rothschild. Endured separately, these problems remain minor and might be resolved if we had milder weather to effect repairs. However, all combined and given the weather conditions forecast, we know that these incidents could cause the boat to suffer major damage and this could put both ourselves and the boat in a dangerous situation.
“The grib files are indicating over 40 knots of breeze and violent seas with waves in excess of 7 metres. This evening, after much deliberation by Charles and I, we’ve decided that it would be irresponsible to continue racing the boat in these conditions.
“The boat was launched two and a half months ago and despite the terrific work by all the members of Gitana to optimise her in a short space of time, she is suffering teething issues. This retirement has been a very tough decision to take, but it’s out of the question to put the project in danger.
“The construction of the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild has called for over a year’s work and this boat has been devised and designed for the Vendée Globe, which remains the team’s primary objective with this craft. It’s hard to have to abandon the race but we must not lose sight of our end goal.”