Published: 16 Nov 2012 12:15 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 16 Nov 2012 12:15 GMT+01:00
Two more skippers, including the only woman in the competition, on Friday abandoned the world's most gruelling yacht race, the solo, round-the-world Vendée Globe, organisers said.
French sailor Louis Burton, whose boat Bureau Vallée was hit by a trawler, pulled out after wind conditions made it impossible for him to return to Les Sables d'Olonne in western France to repair a damaged shroud — rigging that holds up the mast.
The collision happened about 400 nautical miles (460 miles, 741 kilometres) off the coast of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. The 27-year-old instead had to go to Corunna in northwest Spain, organizers said.
British sailor Samantha Davies, 38, dismasted on Thursday evening in strong winds about 130 nautical miles northeast of Madeira.
"I'm fine — I was inside the boat when it happened," she told organizers on a conference call on Friday morning.
She confirmed that she would take no further part in the race, adding that she was disappointed.
Davies finished fourth in the 2008-9 edition of the competition.
Twenty skippers set off from Les Sables d'Olonne last Saturday but now only 16 remain.
Two, including Burton, have pulled out following collisions with trawlers, while one of the favourites, Marc Guillemot, also quit after the keel of his boat was badly damaged.
France's Armel Le Cleac'h — nicknamed "The Jackal" — was leading the prestigious non-stop race at 0400 GMT, 7.5 nautical miles ahead of compatriot Francois Gabart and Switzerland's Bernard Stamm.
Britain's Alex Thomson, currently in fourth position, was quoted as saying in an interview with the Guardian newspaper published on Friday: "To my mind, it's the most difficult sporting challenge that exists on the planet today . . .
"Something like 100 times more people have climbed Everest than have sailed single-handed around the world, so that shows you how hard it really is."
The fight by French workers against Britain-based steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal to keep their jobs has inspired a new online game in which strikers can attack police. The game is called "KillMittal", despite its creators insisting it is not designed to incite violence. READ () »
French police fear a gang of robbers is specifically targeting wealthy women in Paris after the second victim in a matter of weeks was kidnapped and forced to hand over tens of thousands of euros worth of valuables. READ () »
The French President François Hollande’s bid to clean up French politics suffered an early setback on Wednesday when one of his parliamentary deputies was jailed for embezzling public money. READ () »
The French government is planning a controversial change in the law to allow more university courses to be taught entirely in English, in a bid to attract foreign students. Author Frederic Werst, one of a group of writers against the project tells The Local why the idea is "deluded". READ () »
A highly contentious proposal to allow more courses at French universities to be taught in English will be discussed in the French parliament today as the minister behind the plan slams the “hypocrisy” of those opposing it. READ () »
French prosecutors investigating corruption are set to decide this week whether to charge IMF chief Christine Lagarde over her handling of a row that resulted in a €400 million payout being paid to disgraced businessman Bernard Tapie. READ () »
Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of Paris had to be evacuated on Tuesday when 78-year-old writer and far-right figure Dominique Venner, a firm opponent of gay marriage, shot himself in the head by the church's altar. READ () »
High ranking ministers in the French government can expect a grilling in the coming days as an investigation into a tax fraud scandal got underway on Tuesday. The probe was set up after the former budget minister admitted having a secret bank account. READ () »
Hopes that France's long, hard winter would be followed by a warm, sunny spring have been well and truly washed out after a weekend of heavy rain and storms. The country's weather agency saying more bad weather is on the way. READ () »
The French Interior Minister reassured the public on Tuesday that a global operation involving French and international police was underway to track down fugitive Redoine Faid, who remains at large after blasting his way out of prison in April. READ () »