Paris (AFP)

The Welshman Alex Thomson's boat, which ceded first place in the Vendée Globe to Frenchman Thomas Roût on the night from Friday to Saturday, suffers from a "structural problem", but the skipper is "safe", announced Sunday morning his team.

The Briton's staff, aboard "Hugo Boss", was informed by the skipper of his problem while he was "about 800 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in the South Atlantic", specifies- he in a statement.

"Alex and his team, along with the naval architects and engineers involved in the construction of the boat, are now working together to assess the extent of this structural problem and to determine a program and schedule for the repair," the statement added.

The skipper "is safe and in good health on board, and talks regularly with the team," it added.

A new point must be made during the day.

In the meantime, the Briton continues his journey "in the small cold front which cuts the Saint Helena high, but at low speed", while waiting for technical solutions to be proposed to him, explain for their part the organizers of the Vendée Globe, on the race website.

"We know that Alex is in contact with his technical team and the architects to take stock of the + internal damage; a + check + of the entire boat from front to back must be operated", specifies Sunday morning Hubert Lemonnier , deputy race director, on the Vendée Globe site.

"For the moment, its course is not disturbed by these concerns, but it is advancing at low speed, at around 6 knots since last night (Saturday, note), which means that it has not decided to do turn around, ”he adds.

In the 04h00 GMT standings, Frenchman Charlie Dalin (Apivia) had passed Alex Thomson, now third.

Rouillard then led the fleet off Brazil, 38.5 nautical miles ahead of Dalin and 73.1 miles over Thomson.

The three sailors, who are now heading towards the southern tip of Africa, sail on latest generation "flying" sailboats (the "foilers"), which are intrinsically faster than traditional monohulls.

© 2020 AFP