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Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Malbon retires from Vendee Globe

Jonny Malbon
Malbon had been confident of completing the 24,000-mile race

British yachtsman Jonny Malbon has been forced to retire from the Vendee Globe round-the-world race.

The 34-year-old made the decision after his boat, Artemis Ocean II, suffered severe damage to its mainsail, about 300 miles south of New Zealand.

"I could carry on for a bit, but it is no longer if but when the mainsail will just disintegrate completely," he said.

"To head out past New Zealand back into the Southern Ocean is just not feasible. I am absolutely devastated."

Artemis Ocean II's mainsail has been deteriorating for the past three weeks, and in the last 24 hours it developed a metre-long vertical split.

"My heart is telling me to go on but my head is telling me I have to stop and in the end it is true - I have no choice," added Malbon.

Malbon will now make for port in New Zealand where he will be met by members of his shore team.

Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux on board Foncia leads the solo non-stop sailing race by more than 120 miles.


Desjoyeaux was the first to round Cape Horn, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, and he is now on the final climb north to the finish line.

Sam Davies, on Roxy, is the best-placed Briton in sixth place, about 2,100 miles behind the race leader.

see also
'Gutted' Golding abandons Vendee
16 Dec 08 |  Other sport...
Thomson pulls out of Vendee Globe
13 Nov 08 |  Other sport...
Racing around the world
07 Nov 08 |  Other sport...
Vendee Globe yachts get under way
09 Nov 08 |  Technology
British hope suffers Vendee blow
17 Oct 08 |  Other sport...

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