French skipper restarts round-the-world race nine days behind

Les Sables-d'Olonne (France) (AFP) –


French skipper Jeremie Beyou set sail for a second time in the ninth edition of the Vendee Globe late Tuesday afternoon, nine days after the start of the solo round-the-world race following repairs to his boat Charal.

Beyou, one of the pre-race favourites and an early leader after the fleet set off on November 8, returned to Les Sables d'Olonne on Saturday to repair severe damage to his rudder after he hit an underwater object off the coast of Spain.

Competitors are allowed to return to port within the first 10 days of the start, the only permissible stop in the race.

"I cannot wait to go to sea, to get back on the road," said Beyou before crossing the line.

"It's not funny having to turn around. It's not funny to see that the others are in the trade winds and spinning at 20 knots and that I am just there."

The 44-year-old, who finished third in the last edition (2016/2017), hopes to succeed in feeling good again on his latest generation 'foiler' boat before facing a big front on Wednesday.

Beyou, taking part in his fourth Vendee, has given up on his chances of winning the race which was led by British skipper Alex Thomson on Tuesday.

But he could well go for the race record, which is the 74 days and 3 hours that Armel Le Cleac'h recorded when winning the eighth edition four years ago, although conditions are currently against him.

"Here I am completely outside my register," he said.

"For four years, I have been preparing to give everything and fight it out at the front. We must forget and find a new way of doing things.

"Since last night (Monday), the weather situation has deteriorated, I won't have good weather up to the Equator. I wouldn't have the record up to the Equator."

With Beyou's return to racing, the Vendee Globe fleet has 32 of its original 33 starters, after Nicolas Troussel retired on Monday following a dismasting.