It was a tough night off Ireland in the Vendee-Arctique- Les Sables d'Olonne as an international fleet of racers navigated the West Cork coast.
During their second night at sea, on their way from Les Sables d'Olonne to Iceland, the fleet has been closing on the southwest corner of Ireland with the leaders coming within a couple of miles of the coast near Kinsale in a bid to get out of the worst of the weather.
It has been a long hard beat into the northwesterly wind which has been hitting 35 knots in the gusts. Throughout, the leader has remained the Frenchman Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOut (managed by Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson), the boat named after a charity supporting the homeless.
He has set a tough pace for the leading group which has settled into a collection of four boats with Charlie Dalin on Apivia this morning in second place just one-and-a-half nautical miles behind, then Jeremie Beyou on Charal (+2.5) and Kevin Escoffier on PRB (+3.9) in fourth place.
At a position about 45 miles south of the Fastnet Rock on starboard tack, Ruyant was pushing his foiler ahead at 14 knots with about 800 miles to go to reach the IOC UNESCO waypoint off the southwest tip of Iceland.
"Ruyant was pushing his foiler ahead at 14 knots with about 800 miles to go to reach Iceland"
The last 24 hours have seen a second boat return to port with Damien Seguin following the earlier example of Sebastien Simon (ARKÉA PAPREC) deciding to head for Port-La Forêt on board Groupe APICIL.
Seguin discovered that his alternator mounting had completely sheered off in the upwind conditions that were battering his boat and realised he would not have enough power to run his onboard systems without being able to use the engine.
"I quickly looked at what I could do and realised that unfortunately, I couldn't fix it at all," said Seguin who has never retired from a professional race before. "It seemed very difficult to continue like this upwind without being able to re-charge the batteries on board, so I made the decision with the team to return to Port-La-Forêt," he added.
Seguin was just south of Brest this morning on his way home but had not retired from the race.