Vendee Globe contender forced ashore after hitting underwater object

Paris (AFP) –


French Vendee Globe skipper Jeremie Beyou is sailing his racing yacht Charal back to the start for repairs after hitting an underwater object off the coast of Spain overnight.

Beyou was in the lead of the solo non-stop round-the-world race at one point but was forced to retreat to fix a badly damaged rudder.

He had been carrying out light repairs to his 18m high-tech craft and travelling at a modest speed when it hit the underwater object during poor weather conditions.

Race rules allow the Vendee Globe competitors to return to their port of origin for repairs during the first 10 days of the event, which began on Sunday.

In 2008, Michel Desjoyeaux won the race after a similar problem, leaving Les Sables d'Olonne for a second time and trailing his rivals by almost two days before going on to win.

Beyou came third on the last edition after 78 days at sea, behind Frenchman Armel Le Cleac'h and Briton Alex Thomson.