Armel Le Cléac’h still leads the race while Vincent Riou aboard 'PRB' becomes the 7th boat to retire in 15 days of racing.
Vincent Riou, onboard his boat PRB, has retired from the race. Two days ago he collided with a large floating metal buoy and damaged his hull. After 48hrs of assessing whether a repair was possible, he reluctantly decided to retire from the race. He is the 7th to retire in the race in 15 days and there are now 13 boats remaining. It’s a shocking blow for Riou, who won the Vendée Globe in 2004.
Following the collision, Riou discovered that PRB had a 1m tear and significant delamination, three metres from the bow, the front of the boat, and later found there was damage to his carbon outrigger. On Vendée Globe TV Live legendary Race Director, Denis Horeau explained the gravity of the situation. “The outrigger shroud is made of fibres, it is designed to resist 35-ton pressure. When he realizes that 50% of the fibres are damaged, Vincent Riou knows the boat won’t be reliable and is, therefore, unsafe. Riou is a great technician, he knows that.”
An emotional Riou said, “I thought really hard before making the decision, I wanted to make sure there was no other possibility for me to be able to continue in the race. But at one point you have to be resigned, I just couldn’t continue with a boat in that state. No matter how much energy you spend, it’s just not possible sometimes ... The closest port is Salvador de Bahia, I know that place so I’m familiar with the pontoons. I know I’ll be able to find a dock to repair the outrigger."