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Ocean Race Update

Loïck Peyron, age 54, on the Maxi Solo trimaran Banque Populaire VII, has stretched out his lead to 150 miles in the Route du Rhum from Saint-Malo, France, to Guadeloupe.

© 2014 Thierry Martinez / BPCE

It seems as if every time a press release from the Route du Rhum solo Atlantic race pops up in our inbox, it’s reporting some new disaster. The latest is a dramatic lightning strike. Pierre Antoine, skipper of the Multi 50 Olmix, had to be airlifted off his boat yesterday afternoon, around 120 miles north of Cape Finisterre, Spain. Class 40 leader Sébastien Rogues (who has since dropped out of the race) diverted his GDF Suez to the rescue zone and stood by until the uninjured Antoine was safely aboard the Spanish rescue helicopter.

“The lightning struck the top of the mast," explained Antoine. The masthead bulb passed through the mast to the bottom. "The boat is made of wood, so it left a hole in the wood and right through the electrical cables, which had caught fire. When I went inside the boat, there was already 50 cm of water and she was beginning to go bow down. After that, the water just kept rising. Luckily, I wasn’t inside the boat, seeing it had burnt everywhere. I could have been sitting in front of the computer. I can’t imagine what would have happened… The screens exploded and everything turned to dust…”

In comparison the Volvo Ocean Race has been quite civilized. Although Dongfeng Race Team suffered a domino-effect of damage when a padeye failed spectacularly, they were able to continue racing and actually finished Leg 1 second, after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Team Brunel came in third. The remaining four boats are still on the race course. You can follow their progress here:

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Baja Ha-Ha stop #2: remote and undeveloped Bahia Santa Maria. © Google Maps In stark contrast to the light air of Leg 1, the second leg of the 21st Baja Ha-Ha rally was a rompin’ stompin’ beam reach right down the rhumbline to Bahia Santa Maria.