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The Imoca Fortil will not start the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre

The Imoca Fortil will not start the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre

Last night a fire broke out inside the Imoca Fortil, which is docked in the Bassin Paul Vatine in Le Havre. The neighbouring crews and the firefighters quickly intervened. However, the fire caused extensive damage to the interior of the boat and deformed a structural bulkhead connected to the rigging. Clément Giraud and Rémi Beauvais, in consultation with their partner Fortil, made the difficult decision this morning to give up the Transat Jacques Vabre.

(Text from Fortil)

The boat was ready to leave and in perfect condition. The crew had been preparing this double-handed Transat for several months. So, this is a blow for the two sailors from Toulon.

Clément Giraud: “We are going to lower the mast this morning and then we will have an expert go over it. But we already know that a bulkhead has probably suffered effects from the heat and it is structural with the rigging as it is connected to the outrigger (the pole perpendicular to the boat and a part of the rigging). We are obviously very disappointed that this event was not a race incident, which is something that can be expected when you are at sea and for which we are more prepared. The origin of the incident is not yet known.”

With five days to the start, and despite a multitude of teams who spontaneously offered their services, the decision not to start was taken this morning.

Clément Giraud: “We cannot set out on such a long and difficult transatlantic race. We have invested too much in this boat to take the risk of aggravating the situation at sea. And though the Transat Jacques Vabre is exciting, we are already planning for 2020 with our partner Fortil. We will do the Transat en solitaire in May and then the Transat retour and finally, the 2020 Vendée Globe. We will repair and be sailing from the beginning of the year. Our entire team is already mobilised. We will the human spirit to be stronger than the machine.

Olivier Remini, founding director of Fortil: “We have a feeling of injustice and sadness this morning, because sailing is not just about racing, it's also a lot of preparation. Clément and his team worked on the boat a lot, giving the best of themselves for months. This extraordinary collaborative project will not stop with this incident. The project continues. This step will make us stronger and we are all on board with Clement. The journey is more important than the result.”