Saturday, 20 December 2008

Long distance rescue

The Vendee Globe is a French organised single-handed, non-stop, round the world yacht race. It's run every 4 years and is seen by most as the pinnacle of yacht racing...the ultimate test of man and machine. This year's version of the race had by far the largest list of competitors which I can remember and has so far been filled with excitement. Earlier this week one of the British entrants, the hugely experienced Mike Golding, had to retire from the race (which he was at the time in the lead of) due to his mast coming down. Over the last few days an even more serious incident has occurred. Deep in the Southern Indian Ocean, more than 800 miles from the southern coast of Australia, round the world yachtsman, Yann Elies, has been rescued from his yacht by the crew of the Australian Frigate HMAS Arunta.

Two days ago he suffered a broken thigh bone after a fall on the foredeck of his boat. If you, like me, have been following this story, you will understand my relief that he has now been taken safely onboard the Australian Naval vessel. It is hard to imagine a less accessible place in which to need rescuing than on your own on a sailing vessel (which by the way was still sailing during the rescue) and so far from land.

Two fellow competitors, Britishwoman Samantha Davies and Frenchman Marc Guillemot both diverted to stand by the stricken competitor. Marc got there first and has spent much of the last 2 days stood by his countryman doing what he can to assist.

So well done to the Australian Navy and Sam and Marc thanks for giving thier time and energy to this tricky rescue. Job well done.

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