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British skipper, Richard Tolkien (This Time - Argos Soditic), officially announces his withdrawal from the Vendée

by Mary Ambler on 1 Dec 2000
In a radio interview this morning at 1100hrs French time on 30th November with the Vendée Globe Race HQ in Paris, British skipper, Richard Tolkien
(This Time ­ Argos Soditic), officially announced his withdrawal from the Vendée Globe 2000. Richard had decided to turn North on Sunday 26th
November, initially in search of calm seas to climb his mast and re-rig his genoa. At that moment he was lying 14th out of a fleet of 21 boats still
racing, with 745 miles behind the leader Yves Parlier.

In his own words: 'I am confirming that I am withdrawing from the race. I have been unable to fix the problems, I have been up the mast 6 times, and
my assessment is that I need outside assistance. I need a rigger and a sail-maker. I am not going to be able to find these facilities in Cape Verde
Islands, I believe it's just an anchorage there on the NW island. So I will press on the Canary Islands, and as I will be so far behind by then, it will
not be sensible or motivating to continue the race. I chose not to head to Recife because I don't have a big shore crew, I don't know Recife and
could have got stuck there.'

Richard went on to explain exactly the problems on board: 'On the second day of the race, the swivel on top of the genoa furling gear broke and I
got the torn genoa, inside the boat. The Solent jib tore at the leech in a big squall going through the Canaries. I thought I could continue South to
the Equator and reach calmer weather at some point. I did go up the mast to try and untie the top of the Solent jib. I got to the 3rd spreader and the
top furler was jammed. The Solent jib was torn and caught three quarters of the way up the mast. I can't fix the genoa rig block either, and in the last
2 weeks the only sail forward of the mast that I have been able to set is the staysail - except the gennaker. Coming out of the Doldrums and getting
into the Southeast trades I realised I wouldn't be able to sort it out.

'I am now 12 and a half degrees North and 24 and a half degrees West. I am pressing on Northwards against the current and wind. It's a long, slow
journey, so I should make it to Las Palmas in a week. I have some friends in the UK who can fly out there to assist me.'

A spokesperson from his European sponsor, Argos Soditic, added their support to Richard¹s announcement : 'Argos Soditic wishes to express
their support for Richard at this difficult moment, which has prematurely broken a dream, on which Richard has worked for more than ten years.'

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