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Vendée Globe Sport Yachting

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First Irish sailor to compete in Vendée Globe drops out

Irish skipper Enda O'Coineen waves goodbye from his Imoca monohull "Kilcullen voyager - Team Ireland" as he leaves to take the start of the Vendee Globe solo around-the-world sailing race in Les Sables-d'Olonne, western France, on November 6, 2016. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP

Irish sailor Enda O'Coineen dropped out of the Vendée Glove solo race on Sunday. Frenchman Armel Le Cléac'h is still leading the yachting competition.

Irish Vendée Globe sailor Enda O'Coineen said Sunday he was devastated but uninjured after the mast of his boat broke south-east of New Zealand.

O'Coineen's Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland boat dismasted as he was racing 180 nautical miles south east of Dunedin.

O'Coineen, 61, was the first Irishman to compete in the non-stop, solo around the world race.

"I have to laugh because if I don't I will cry," he said "I am devastated. Things were going quite well. I was in good shape. Having got this far I felt we could handle anything. I am mastless, the deck was holed. It is not a happy situation but there it is, you roll the dice."

O'Coineen was sailing in 15th position with 19 competitors left in the race which set sail from the French Atlantic port of Les Sables d'Olonne on 6 November.

The Irishman was positioned 6,600 nautical miles behind French leader Armel Le Cléac'h on board Banque populaire VIII.

At 12.00 GMT on Monday, Frenchman Armel Le Cléac'h wasat 4,652 nautical miles from finish with British sailor Alex Thomson following him at 150 nutical miles.