The number of dropouts from the Vendee Globe has reached 9

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Last weekend, two Vendee Globe competitors dropped out of the round-the-world race. IMOCA 60 Compagnie du Lit - Boulogne Billancourt's Stéphane Le Diraison lost her mast, while Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine skipper Thomas Ruyant collided with an underwater object and sustained hull damage.

IMOCA 60 Compagnie du Lit - Boulogne Billancourt skipper Stéphane Le Diraison's yacht lost her mast in the Indian Ocean. Le Diraison was sailing with two reefs on the mainsail in northwest winds of 25-26 knots when it happened.

«The boat was on the crest of a wave when I heard a crackling sound. I thought it was an outrigger. I rushed outside to take the helm and saw that I no longer had a mast. The backstay had burst. The mast had split in two»," Le Diraison said.

The yachtsman cut the damaged mast and rigging and rigged the remaining seven metres of the mast with a storm-sail. He is now on his way to Melbourne, Australia.

Le Souffle du Nord pour Le Projet Imagine skipper Thomas Ruyant collided with an underwater object. Ruyant found water in the sail pantry at the bow of the boat. The starboard rudder blade was damaged, a frame bulb was damaged, and a crack appeared in the hull. However, the skipper has not requested assistance and hopes to reach Bluff in New Zealand, 200 miles away, on his own.

Since the start of the Vendee Globe solo circumnavigation, ten of the 29 participants have dropped out of the race for various reasons.

Leading the race is Armel Le Cléacque on Banque Populaire VIII. He is chased by Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, losing by over 500 miles. According to the latest estimates, Le Cléac will reach Cape Horn two days ahead of his rival. The race leaders are now going in very different weather conditions, separated by a ridge of high pressure.

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