Alex Thomson's $7.7 million racing yacht damaged in collision

    British skippers Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald near the start of the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre race.

    (CNN)Two years in the making, a revolutionary $7.7 million racing yacht is currently stricken in the Atlantic after colliding with a submerged object.

    Briton Alex Thomson and co-skipper Neal McDonald were a third of the way into the 4,350-mile Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador, Brazil, when the sleek 60-foot yacht hit the unidentified object while sailing at 25 knots on Sunday.
    "If you were to get into your car, close your eyes, and drive at 40 miles an hour into a brick wall ... that's what it felt like," said Thomson of the collision, which occurred about 380 miles northwest of the Canary Islands.
      The pair, who escaped with only bruises, deduced the keel was held onto the boat's black carbon-fiber hull by the hydraulic ram, posing a "serious risk of significant damage to the hull."
      Thomson (right) and McDonald are vastly experienced ocean racers.
      They worked intensively, with guidance from their UK-based shore team, to make the boat safe and ultimately opted to cut away the keel to minimize the danger, lowering the hydrofoils to aid stability.
      "Alex and Neal have filled the ballast tanks onboard and fully extended the foils in order to keep the boat as stable as possible," said a statement from Ross Daniel, technical director of Thomson's team.