Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraish

Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi quit the nonstop round the world Vendee Globe race on Sunday after powerful winds dismasted his Spirit of Yukoh sloop.

“I heard the mast break from inside of the boat,” said Shiraishi, who had already made yachting history by becoming the first Asian sailor to compete in the gruelling event dubbed the “Everest of the Seas.”

“I quickly went outside to check the damage but the mast had broken in half above the second spreader.

“I’m okay. I don’t need any assistance, and I am heading for Cape Town. I am sorry for everyone who supported me in this journey and would like to particularly thank my sponsors for their kind support,” said the 49-year-old from Tokyo.

Shiraishi already had a long history in ocean racing as he targeted a top-10 finish in the initial 29-strong field in his monohull yacht, seeking to make sailing a popular sport in Japan.

He is a seasoned seafarer having earlier completed two solo circumnavigations of the globe.

At the age of 26 he sailed around the world single handed and finished second in the 2006-2007 Velux Five Oceans stage race.


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Source :  Japan Times