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11/04 - 15h55

PRB Abandons

Vincent Riou, skipper of PRB and one of the favourites to win the IMOCA Open 60 Class arrived back in Port La Forêt at around 1115hrs CET this morning. He was immediately joined by his technical team and together they inspected the damage and problems. Upon full evaluation the decision was taken that he would officially abandon La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.
The principal damage is to the supporting structure of the crescent shaped mainsail track. He decided that along with other problems there would now be no way of achieving his goals for the race.  Deeply moved, speaking from behind his sunglasses, Riou said:
"There is a lot of work needed to put PRB back in full racing conndition.  I think we stop here with a lot of regrets. Yesterday when I was 160 miles from here I knew that La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was over me in terms of what I wanted to do. To leave here with a boat on which the glue on the repairs would not even be completely dry would be taking too many risks for the integrity of this beautiful boat. Even if she is damaged today she is still a great boat. It is the right thing to do. There was a growing risk of pulling the whole structure off and that would have caused bigger damage. So the choice I have made is the right one."
"Off a wave I heard a strange noise at the back of the boat and thought it was the rudders. I checked them and it was all OK. I heard a loud noise and then realised that it was the bottom of the sidewall of the ballast tank which had separaed from the hull bottom and the water was being emptied into the boat. Why it happened now, I have no idea."

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