'I fear that the racer and the sailor will not agree'

The Vendee Globe yachtsman who saw his podium finish hopes dashed when his keel broke away now has to decide whether to finish the race or not.

Reached by phone this morning, Jean-Pierre Dick described sailing conditions on board Virbac-Paprec 3 following the loss of her keel during the night.

The skipper from Nice is faced with an important decision: continue the race in ‘damaged’ mode or retire from the Vendée Globe and take shelter in the Azores.

He said: ‘I fear that the racer and the sailor will not agree.
‘Without a keel, the boat has become a huge windsurfing board without great leaning ability.

‘For the moment, I do not feel in danger. I have filled the windward ballasts to balance out the boat. Everything is in good order. I have put the two rudders in the water.

‘There is no immediate risk to me. I also have set up a centreboard to control where I’m going. There’s time ahead of me before tacking or gybing.

‘I am going to think about the various solutions.’

The sailor, who said he had a pain in his sides added: ‘I will be faced with a difficult choice: that of continuing the race or that of limiting the risks to the boat.

‘There is a choice to be made between stopping and continuing sailing with a handicap.

‘For the moment I have not studied the weather.

‘I will make a decision quickly, but I fear that the race and the sailor will not agree!

‘It is a huge disappointment. A 3rd place was within sight of my bow and waiting for me.

‘I have worked for four years in the hope of finishing on the Vendée Globe podium.

‘It is not over yet, I have not given up. Nevertheless, it won’t be easy to sail 2,000 miles without a keel!

‘Sailing without a keel is like playing the flute without hands.’