To say that 2012 ended on a rough note for veteran French solo sailor Marc Guillemot would be the understatement of the year.
First Guillemot, who finished third in the 2008-09 Vendée Globe, had to drop out less than 24 hours into the 2012-13 running of the race when the keel bulb fell off his Open 60 Safran. Then, upon returning home, he was forced to pay $15,000 in fines for having sailed Safran the wrong way through the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel during an attempt on the Round Britain and Ireland record last June.
According to the UK’s Maritime and Coast Guard Agency, several merchant ships were forced to alter course to avoid Guillemot as he sped through the bottleneck in the channel off the Kent coast in the middle of the night. He also failed to respond to multiple hails from the Dover Coast Guard.
As for Guillemot’s keel, subsequent analysis revealed that it likely broke as a result of metal fatigue, a situation undoubtedly exacerbated by Safran’s 2010 retrofit, which not only boosted the boat’s overall performance but structural loads as well.
Alors! Gallic passion is a fine thing, as far as it goes. But you can’t help wondering whether Mr. Guillemot might not want to cool his jets a little before someone gets hurt!
Photo courtesy of Francois Van Malleghem/DPPI/Vendee Globe