Gitana Eighty takes the reins
Decidedly, The Transat is full of developments. The duel between Loïck Peyron and Vincent Riou was cut short late this afternoon when the latter alerted race management that he was requesting assistance following a keel problem with his monohull.

In fact, last night the skipper of the 60' Vendée boat seemingly hit a basking shark, the impact damaging the appendage. The damage was such that Vincent Riou wished to abandon ship, no longer feeling safe with an impending storm forecast across the Imoca fleet tomorrow.
Being the closest to PRB, the second he was contacted the skipper of Gitana Eighty immediately diverted following a request from Sylvie Viant, race director. It was 1500 hours when Loïck Peyron altered his course. In order to simplify the transfer, Vincent Riou got into his liferaft, which he had securely fastened to PRB. The rescue operation was carried out efficiently and simplified by the particularly mild weather conditions at the time. At 1725 UT, Vincent Riou was aboard Gitana Eighty. The monohull in the colours of the LCF Rothschild  Group was then able to make towards Boston again, and is now leading the fleet. 

At the 1800 UT position report, Gitana Eighty had a 29 mile lead over Armel Le Cléac'h, the new pretender to victory in The Artemis Transat. However, in addition to the time conceded, which will be redressed following evaluation by the jury, Loïck Peyron will also have to get used to a new configuration.
A reluctant stowaway, Vincent Riou will not be able to help the sailor from La Baule under any circumstances, either in his manœuvres or in his choice of course. During the remaining 830 miles, that is nearly 3 and a half days at sea, the skipper of Gitana Eighty will have to consider himself as being alone aboard…: “It's the first time I've ended up in such a situation: sailing double-handed in a single-handed race. It's pretty disconcerting for the time being as I was right into a very precise rhythm, making decisions automatically and with a set routine… It's not easy, but I'm now going to have to regain my focus in order to tackle the next stage, which still promises to be fairly complicated. However, the essential thing was to recover Vincent” confided Loïck Peyron just a few minutes after the rescue.

Tomorrow the jury for The Transat should return its verdict as regards the amount of time which will be redressed to Loïck Peyron and Gitana Eighty, for having diverted for the rescue. Whatever happens the race has now returned to centre stage.

An historic snapshot
During his first participation in the Vendée Globe (1989-1990), Loïck Peyron came to the aid of Philippe Poupon off South Africa, helping him to get the boat back into working order when the latter was over on its ear. Despite finishing second in Les Sables d'Olonne, this rescue in the high seas proved memorable.

Another tale of the high seas occurred in The Transat (former Ostar) this time: In 1984, Yvon Fauconnier went to the rescue of Philippe Jeantot after his capsize. The second to cross the finish line, ten hours and thirty minutes after Philippe Poupon, the skipper of Umupro-Jardin was proclaimed winner of this edition, since the jury had quite logically redressed the sixteen hours spent helping Philippe Jeantot. 

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