Damaged racing yacht limps in

French yacht Le Souffle de Nord is moored in the Harbour Basin, awaiting an insurance assessment after it was significantly damaged by an unidentified object in the Tasman Sea last week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
French yacht Le Souffle de Nord is moored in the Harbour Basin, awaiting an insurance assessment after it was significantly damaged by an unidentified object in the Tasman Sea last week. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A large French yacht, crippled after colliding with an unidentified object in the Tasman Sea, has managed to limp to Dunedin after emergency repairs in Bluff.

Le Souffle de Nord, sailed by Frenchman Thomas Ruyant, was competing in the Vendee Globe non-stop around-the-world solo yacht race when it was badly damaged last Monday, by what is thought to have been a partially submerged shipping container.

At the time, Mr Ruyant told the competition organisers the sail locker in the bow of the yacht was flooded and there was significant structural damage to the starboard rudder, the bottom frame and the deck of the boat.

The incident happened while he was battling very heavy seas with wind speeds of about 75kmh.

He had his safety gear ready and was prepared to abandon the boat if required.

The 18m monohull was last Wednesday escorted by the Bluff Coastguard to Bluff, where it was repaired sufficiently for it to sail to the Dunedin Harbour Basin yesterday.

Former round-the-world sailor Stuart McLachlan came to Mr Ruyant's aid when he berthed in Dunedin, and said the yacht would now undergo an insurance assessment to determine whether it will be repaired in Dunedin, Auckland or back in France.

He said Mr Ruyant flew home to France yesterday.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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