Members of of Armel Le Cleac'h's support team repairing Banque Populaire
Rennes (France) (AFP) - Record-breaking French skipper Armel Le Cleac’h took to sea again in his repaired boat on Saturday even though his hopes of adding the Route du Rhum to his Vendee Globe triumph appeared in tatters.
Le Cleac’h had returned to Lorient in Brittany on Thursday to repair damage to Banque Populaire.
He set off again shortly before 1200GMT with the aim of finishing the Route du Rhum, a solo transatlantic race which ends in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, his team announced.
“We want to go to the end of the story,” Le Cleac’h said Friday evening.
The winner of the 2016⁄2017 Vendee Globe round-the-world solo race has had bad luck in the Route de Rhum.
The race is sailed every four years and in 2018 he capsized after two days.
This time his daggerboard, a retractable fin attached to the keel, snapped after less than 24 hours at sea.
On Thursday morning, Le Cleac’h heard “a crack”.
“There was no warning. It broke in two seconds. It’s hard to believe,” he said in a statement Friday evening.
“There is a lot of disappointment.”
Since Thursday evening, his team has been working to replace the daggerboard and to seal the damage to the hull.
“It ended badly four years ago, we lost a boat. This year, we want to finish this Route du Rhum,” Le Cleac’h said.
Far ahead, Francois Gabart in SVR Lazartigue narrowly led Charles Caudrelier, in Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, with Thomas Coville sailing Sodebo in pursuit as the boats tackled a new front of heavy weather.