Byline: Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Former champion Vincent Riou has dropped out of the Vendee Globe solo around-the-world sailing race because of damage to his sailboat during a collision with a stray buoy.
French skipper Riou had been in third place as of Nov. 24 and was considered a favorite to win the challenging race. He is the seventh of 20 participants to have dropped out of the race.
Polish skipper Zbigniew Gutkowski dropped out of the Vendee Globe race Nov. 21 because of problems with the autopilot on his Energa yacht — two days after Frenchman Jeremie Beyou pulled out because of a broken keel. In addition, British skipper Samantha Davies and Frenchmen Louis Burton, Kito de Pavant and Marc Guillemot have all dropped out.
Riou won the 2004-05 race. Organizers said he dropped out Nov. 25 after he failed to repair damage to the hull following the crash.
He said “it’s a very difficult decision to make, but it was the most reasonable,” according to the race website.
Skippers in the Vendee Globe circle the three great capes: Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn, the southernmost tips of Africa, Australia and the Americas.