A week ago, the canting keel on Isabelle Jocshe’s IMOCA 60, MACSF, failed. She managed a jury rig with a replacement ram, which held the keel centerline and allowed her to keep sailing, but with a major hit to her speed potential. Jocshe had been in 8th at the time and remained in the tight front runner’s pack by week’s end, despite sinking back to 11th.
Yesterday she reported that the replacement ram had failed, and she would have to abandon the race—a devastating announcement as she was truly in the home stretch. “I am bitterly disappointed, so sad not to be able to finish this course,” she said “But I am proud. Proud of sailing this far and proud of my race. Proud to have rounded the three capes. And to have shown that with MACSF we are all present and a force to be reckoned with. That’s something they can’t take away from us.”
But, as stoic as her words are, she still must face another mountain before her race is over: getting safely to shore. “I spent the night bailing out the boat… I have managed to stem the flow of water. Now the most important thing is to get to a port and safety and to get myself to safety. I am extremely sad to have to retire. I think the Vendée Globe has been cruel to me.” Indeed, as with so many other this edition, it has. Josche is the seventh skipper forced to abandon the race.
To follow the Vendée Globe race tracker, visit vendeeglobe.org/en/tracking-map