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Another boat hits trawler in Vendee Globe

PARIS (AFP) –

The monohull

The monohull “Bureau Valle” skippered by French Louis Burton leaves the harbour before the start of the 7th edition of the Vendee Globe, the solo non-stop round-the-world yacht race in Les Sables d’Olonne, western France, on November 10. French sailor Louis Burton’s boat Bureau Vallee was hit by a trawler overnight Tuesday to Wednesday.

French sailor Louis Burton’s boat Bureau Vallee was hit by a trawler overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, race organisers said, in the latest collision to befall the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race.

Burton, who at 27 is the youngest competitor in the prestigious, non-stop race, was uninjured in the incident, which happened about 400 nautical miles (460 miles, 741 kilometres) off the coast of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

The collision came after a day after Burton’s compatriot Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) was forced to abandon the competition when his boat was damaged by a trawler 70 nautical miles north of the southern Portuguese port of Cascais.

According to reports, the trawler’s AIS (automatic identification system) was switched off at the time.

Race organisers said the collision involving Burton happened at 3:10 am local time (0310 GMT) when he reported being hit on his port (left-hand) side.

“He was on watch in the cockpit and his radar and AIS were switched on. He was travelling at 18 knots (30 kilometres an hour) in heavy seas with a southwesterly wind of 32 knots and limited visibility,” they added.

“Louis turned quickly northeastward, secured the mast and reported a damaged shroud (rigging that holds up the mast) 1.8 metres (5.9 feet) off the deck.”

Burton sent pictures of the damaged area back to on-shore technicians and said that he would return to the western French port of Les Sables d’Olonne, where the race began on Saturday, to undertake repairs.

Twenty skippers began the race but 18 remain, after de Pavant withdrew and one of the favourites, Marc Guillemot, quit when the keel on his boat Safran suffered irreparable damage.

France’s Francois Gabart remained the race leader on Wednesday morning, with Switzerland’s Bernard Stamm in second and Armel Le Cleac’h in third.

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