Paris - French yacht Groupama was dismasted on Wednesday while it was leading the fifth stage of the Volvo Ocean race, the team announced.
The yacht - who had battled back to regain the lead off American team Puma in the stage - lost its mast off the coast of Uruguay, some 650 nautical miles from the stage finishing line in Itajai, Brazil.
Skipper Franck Cammas relayed the bad news to the team's on shore crew around 15:00GMT. At the time of the incident Groupama was 60 nautical miles off the Uruguay coast and navigating through a wind of around 20 knots.
Groupama was in second place overall going into the stage some 15 points adrift of leader, Spanish yacht Telefonica.