Marc Guillemot, a first time competitor in the round-the-world Vendée Globe, was at the head of the 30-boat field at the start of the gruelling 24,000-mile solo yacht race.
First time competitor Marc Guillemot was the early pacesetter in the Vendee Globe round the world solo yacht race on Monday.
Guillemot, 49, and the rest of the 30-boat field set out Sunday from the Vendee port of Les Sables d'Olonnes on their treacherous 24,000 mile voyage.
A tough first night saw the fleet confront 20-30 knot headwinds and 4-6 metre seas with early Monday Guillemot's Safran holding a 9.5 mile advantage over Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) with Loick Peyron (Gitana Eighty) third.
Race on November 10th (Vendée Globe graphics)
The only non-French skipper in the top ten was Briton Dee Cafari who is trying to become the first woman to sail around the world single-handed in both directions.
Three boats have already had to beat a retreat back to port for repairs, the latest being Michel Desjoyeux.
The Foncia skipper signalled to race organisers at 0819GMT and 200 miles off land that he was returning to repair an electrical problem.
He joined Dominique Wavre (Temenos) and Bernard Stamm (Cheminees Poujoulat), the Swiss duo who had already headed back to Les Sables d'Olonne late Sunday.
Wavre required assistance for an electrical fault while Stamm turned back after what he described as a "huge collision" with a fishing boat 72 miles off the coast.
The 53-year-old on his third Vendee Globe reported: "There were a whole group of us racing upwind. There was a fishing boat in the area that I saw some way off and didn't seem to be a problem.
"I went down to do some nav work and a few minutes later - boom!
"I reckon he must have changed direction. By the time it took me to go inside, I'd hit him. I couldn't raise him on the radio. I don't know whether he saw me. It was more or less a direct hit, a bit to one side. A huge collision."
This is the sixth edition of the Vendee Globe which was last held in 2004 and won by French sailor Vincent Riou who was placed eighth behind Guillemot in the early standings.
Vendee Globe standings at 1000GMT Monday
1. Marc Guillemot (FRA) Safran at 23,552.3 miles from the finish, 2. Roland Jourdain (FRA) Veolia Environnement at 9.5 miles, 3. Loick Peyron (FRA0 Gitana-Eighty 10.3, 4. Kito de Pavant (FRA) Groupe Bel 11.4, 5. Sebastien Josse (FRA) BT 12.8, 6. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) Paprec-Virbac 13.7, 7. Dee Cafari (GBR) Aviva 14.4, 8. Vincent Riou (FRA) PRB 14.5, 9. Yann Elies (FRA) 14.8, 10. Armel Le Cleac'h (FRA) Brit Air
Date created : 2008-11-11