The Route du Rhum race has seen 17 of the 91 vessels abandon the course after disaster occurred, including lightning strikes and cargo ship collision

This year’s Route du Rhum got off to a
dramatic start with several yachts abandoning the course following disasters at

The 91 participants, who streamed out of
the vast St Malo harbour, have had to cope with winds averaging 20-25 knots,
and gusts of 35 knots, causing 17 of 91 boats to abandon the race.

The 10th Route du Rhum race, which sees its
competitors sailing single-handedly from St Malo, France 3,542 miles to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadelope began on Sunday 2nd November with interesting prospects.

On day one conditions fared badly from the
beginning for some, when a knock from a dive boat, when at anchor, put Luc
Coquelin in dire straits.

Meanwhile, Jean Galfione damaged his hull by hitting an unlit
buoy and Marc Lepesqueux lost his keel. 

François Angoulvant also lost his keel
and was flown to Brest, after which Thomas Coville was involved in a collision with a cargo ship.

The second day fared similarly, with Giles
Buekenhout beginning the day with a broken rudder.

Hervé de Carlan also headed to Saint-Brieuc with
a broken rudder, while Erik Nigo shredded his mainsail.

Brest welcomed a dismasted Alain Delhumeau,
while Benjamin Hardouin arrived in Roscoff to repair a leak.

Day three saw Pierre Antione of the Multi50
Olmix airlifted off his boat after the mast was struck by lightning 120 miles
North of Cape Finisterre.

The lightning surge left a hole straight
down the centre of the boat, causing the computers to explode and the hull to
spring a leak.

Luckily none of the competitors have been
hurt and with weather weather conditions now calming, many are planning to return to the
race following repairs.

You can follow the race on the Route du
Rhum website

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Image credit: bobostudio