Minutes later, 19 yachts would cross the start line, some a bit early in their anticipation to get racing. Unfortunately for Bertrand de Broc, his yacht Votre Nom Autour du Monde sustained minor hull damage in the heavy boat traffic leading out of the harbor and had to return to port for repairs. He is back at sea with his sight on the fleet as they round Cape Finisterre. Five hours in the race it was one of the favorites, Marc Guillemot on Safran, to run into bad luck with a broken keel, possibly after hitting a submerged object. Marc returned to Les Sables where a close inspection confirmed a worst-case scenario for him; his race is over.
With a rather uneventful, compared to 2008, passage through the Bay of Biscay, the remainder of the fleet was able to get some miles behind them; François Gabart is leading the way on MACIF as they turn the corner in Spain and start heading south. Alessandro di Benedetto who, on an older boat, appears to have gambled on a more southerly route in the Bay is bringing the rear of the group who didn't have to return to port. With good breezes in the forecast, the next few days to the Canary Islands should be interesting!
The ISAF annual conference is closing down today in Ireland; with a busy agenda over the past week, representatives had an opportunity to discuss many important issues in the sport of sailing. One of the key discussions was obviously around equipment for the 2016 Rio games; in a rather convoluted turn of events and lengthy debates at the AGM, the windsurfers were reinstated for 2016. Earlier in the week, Chinese Laser Radial gold medalist Lijia Xu and British Finn gold medalist Ben Ainslie were announced as the 2012 ISAF Rolex Sailors of the Year.
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