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Polish sailor Gutkowski latest to abandon Globe

PARIS (AFP) –

Zbigniew Gutkowski

Poland’s Zbigniew Gutkowski, seen here, became the sixth skipper on Wednesday to abandon his bid to win the prestigious Vendee Globe race after electronic problems ruined his chances.

Poland’s Zbigniew Gutkowski became the sixth skipper on Wednesday to abandon his bid to win the prestigious Vendee Globe race after electronic problems ruined his chances.

The problems hit his boat Energa in recent days of the gruelling solo unassisted race around the world which meant he did not have automatic pilot.

“Today (Wednesday) I need to officially announce what I’ve been thinking about for days. Being brave is not only about fighting, it is also about knowing where to stop.”

“I know I did everything I could, working on my electronics issues for many days.

“But I can’t carry on like that. Having no autopilot means I can’t race, and if I can’t race, I have to retire.

“That’s a tough decision, one of toughest in my life. But that’s the Vendee Globe, that’s the power of the ocean and you can’t fight it.”

Already forced to quit the event is the race’s only women skipper, Samantha Davies as well as Louis Burton, Marc Guillemot, Kito de Pavant and Jeremie Beyou leaving 14 at sea competing for sailing’s ultimate prize.

“It’s like driving at night on a road you don’t know, a road with many turns, surrounded with trees. Suddenly your lights go off and you can’t slow down. How many chances do you have to survive?,” added Gutkowski.

At 1100 GMT on Wednesday after 11 days at sea, Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h led the race as they sailed close to the equator followed by compatriot Francois Gabart who is 41.5 nautical miles back and a third Frenchman Vincent Riou a further 4.5 miles adrift.

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