The Franco-German sailor Isabelle Joschke is currently assessing her options with her shore team after she discovered structural damage to the bow area of her Class40 yacht, Generali-Horizon Mixité, in the north-Atlantic.
Joschke, aged 39, had been leading the very close battle at the head of the Class40 fleet at a position about 630-nautical miles east, southeast of Nova Scotia but is now deciding where to head to, to make repairs.
The boat was sailing on starboard tack in 30 knots of wind when Joschke heard strange noises coming from the portside bow area, forward of the main bulkhead.
On inspection, she discovered water coming into the sail locker and quickly rolled her staysail and turned the boat downwind, 180 degrees away from the race heading.
It seems the failure is a crack in the hull which means there is no chance that she can continue upwind to New York, still over 1,000 miles away. This is a bitter disappointment for Joschke who was sailing a remarkable race in her first outing on a Class 40.
“We are currently developing a strategy for Isabelle who is looking for more favorable weather conditions to minimise the water ingress and settle on a route to a destination that will save her boat - Isabelle is well," summarised Joschke’s team leader Alain Gautier.
The main options for her are to try to head for Nova Scotia or perhaps head south, southeast towards the Azores which are about 1,000 miles away.
Joschke is the third Class40 skipper to sustain damage during the race after Maxime Sorel whose boat hit a containership and Armel Tripon who stopped in the Azores after the storm.
Among the seven remaining entries Edouard Golbery on Region Normandie in sixth place had to run off downwind while he worked to repair damage to his mainsail but he has now resumed his course to New York.
The class is now being led by Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires en Peloton-Arsep who is just four miles ahead of Britain’s Phil Sharp on Imerys.
The next boat to reach the finish line off Sandy Hook is expected to be the longtime IMOCA 60 leader Banque Populaire, skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h. He currently has 220 miles to sail and is expected early tomorrow afternoon UK time.