Safran, skippered by Marc Guillemot and Morgan Lagravière, has been forced to abandon while leading the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race.
Last night, at around 0200hrs (French time), during a manoeuver in 35-40 knots of wind, Guillemot fell and suffered a serious blow. He has probably broken some ribs.
At 1500, the boat docked at Puerto Sherry, the port in Cadiz, Spain and Guillemot has gone to hospital for a diagnosis.
Marc Guillemot: 'Abandoning is one injury that always hurts and it's hard to accept but we are very happy with how we’ve done in the race. Morgan was really assured in looking after the boat. I’m not in very good condition. We are abandoning despite not wanting to.
'There was the (rough) sea, 30-35 knots of wind and there was a big wave. The boat reared up, and I did too, but the boat is heavier and it came back down faster. I found myself one meter above it and then crashed on to the edge of the headsail furler. Fortunately, Morgan saw that something was happening and he was able help me get back to the cockpit. I was doubled over. Once I was safe, he got the boat in a position to continue sailing to Gibraltar.'
Morgan Lagravière: 'I saw it happening 10 meters from me. I was at the stern of the boat and Marc was on the bow. I was very scared because I was sure he was going to end up in the water. The waves were so huge that I thought he was a goner. Then he was in a state of shock, I had to drag him to the stern so it was really painful for him. Once he was sitting in the cockpit, he was suffering a lot. I managed the crisis. We managed to tack away to give me some shelter as I went to repair the (furling) reel. We talked about me finishing the race solo with Marc in his bunk and that we could still beat the others. But he was in too much pain. He and I have decided to abandon the race because we don’t know what is causing his pain: if it is a broken rib that could puncture something else, and then it gets complicated. We prefer to have a more accurate diagnosis. It was very intense for me last night...damn hard.
'The overall analysis (of the race) is still positive, as we came to work hard and we are super happy with the work we have done and the partnership we formed. We led the race from start to finish and we were still in the lead. It looked like we would win. We will have good memories even if abandoning is not easy to accept.'