Dec. 18, 2008, 9:41 a.m. (ET)

LES SABLES D'OLONNE, France(AP) French sailor Yann Elies became the latest skipper forced to abandon the Vendee Globe round-the-world yacht race after breaking his leg Thursday on the deck of his yacht.

“Elies was working at the bow, leaning on the pulpit, as he was preparing a sail, when his 60-foot boat, Generali, came to a sudden halt slamming into a wave,” a statement on the race Web site said.

“The sailor felt a sudden acute pain. He collapsed on the foredeck and had to crawl back inside his boat to contact his team. According to the initial diagnosis from Dr. Jean-Yves Chauve, the race doctor, Yann is suffering from a broken femur (thighbone).”

Elies' boat is now hove to - effectively stopped - about 800 miles south of Australia in the Indian Ocean. The Australian emergency services have been alerted and are examining ways to get Elies off as quickly as possible.

Race organizers said compatriot Marc Guillemot, on his yacht Safran, has changed course to “offer the injured skipper psychological support” and was less than 100 miles from Generali and expected to reach Elies in a few hours.

Meanwhile, leading British competitor Samantha Davies temporarily blacked out after a nasty fall in the cockpit of her yacht Roxy.

Davies, currently in 10th place about 970 miles behind the lead boat, told her shore crew that she was stacking sails in preparation for a gybe when a sail tie broke and she fell backward, smashing her elbow on a winch.

“It hurt so much that everything went black, and I passed out,” Davies said.

The damage to the elbow was not thought to be serious, and Davies was taking painkillers.

Sailors in the race fleet are currently having to deal with freezing water temperatures, snow squalls, icebergs and the giant ocean swells characteristic of the Southern Ocean.

The Vendee, a single-handed race for men and women without any stopovers, set off from Les Sables d'Olonne on Nov. 9.

Thirty Open 60 race boats - high-tech carbon-fiber yachts built to be fast yet tough - began the race, but more than a third of the fleet has been forced to retire with less than half the race distance covered.

The Vendee takes the fleet around the three great capes - the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn - marking the southern tips of Africa, Australia and America.

Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux, aboard Foncia, is the race leader. He was followed by compatriot Roland Joudain on Veolia Environnement, some 38 miles behind at the last race check-in.