Published: Thursday, 08 December 2016

Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi in Vendee Globe, which started on Nov 6 in France, has decided to retire from the race on Dec 4 at 8:30UTC after Spirit of Yukoh was dismasted and beyond repairable. The Skipper went to Cape Town instead.

Kojiro Shiraishi On Spirit Of Yukoh Retires From Vendee Globe 1

(Photos: Vendee Globe - Spirit of Yukoh)

Shiraishi told his onshore team one day before the incident that that the wind had increased a notch (35-40 knots) and that he had switched to J-3 (small jib) with three reefs in the mainsail. In the middle of the night the spar broke above the second layer of spreaders.

Shiraishi has since then climbed the mast and successfully removed the broken part of the mast. Shiraishi and the team came to the conclusion that it was impossible to repair this damage and there were too many risks to allow him to continue in these conditions.

Kojiro Shiraishi On Spirit Of Yukoh Retires From Vendee Globe 2

"At 0330 UTC, I heard the mast break from inside of the boat,” says Shiraishi. “I quickly went outside to check the damage but the mast had broken in half above the second spreader. I was able to remove the broken piece and I will need to go up again to do some cleaning. The wind was 20 knots at the time I dismasted. I'm okay. I don't need any assistance, and I am heading for Cape Town. I am sorry for everyone who supported me in this journey and would like to particularly thank my sponsors for their kind support."

Kojiro Shiraishi On Spirit Of Yukoh Retires From Vendee Globe

(Kojiro Shiraishi)

The powerful winds which are blowing across practically the whole of the Southern Ocean has led to several incidents with damage reported: Jérémie Beyou on Maître CoQ had to lower his mainsail in the night following a problem with his mainsail traveller car: he is heading towards the northeast to Amsterdam Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean for calmer conditions. Arnaud Boissières on board Le Mie Câline also had the same problem during the night 350 miles southwest of South Africa in winds that were not that exceptional (25-30 knots) but with heavy seas. Finally in Cape Town, Vincent Riou’s PRB set off from South Africa with part of his shore team to head for Brittany.