French yachtsman's rescue 'a miracle'

2013-01-22 14:00
French sailor Alain Delord (holding rope) being hauled aboard the Orion (AFP)

French sailor Alain Delord (holding rope) being hauled aboard the Orion (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hobart – On Tuesday a French yachtsman described his dramatic rescue from a life-raft adrift for three days in the Southern Ocean as a "second chance at life" and a "miracle".

Alain Delord was stranded without food or water in churning seas about 500 nautical miles from southern Australia's Tasmania after his yacht was badly damaged in perilous weather during a solo round-the-world sailing attempt.

The yachtsman was eventually picked up by the Antarctic cruise ship Orion, but it took 53 hours to get to him. The ship was slowed down by strong winds and rough swells and only reached Delord before sunset on the third day.

"It's the start of a second life," the sailor told a press conference in Hobart after walking off the Orion at Macquarie Dock, uninjured except for some bruises and hands swollen from clinging to his inflatable raft.

"The chances of being here today were very small. It's a miracle because of the circumstances... luck," he said, speaking in French.

Delord, who kicked off his round-the-world attempt in October, thanked the Australian authorities for co-ordinating his rescue, saying that when he abandoned his ship on Friday for his life raft he had no food or water.

He had activated his distress beacon, but initially had no idea whether anyone had received his signal as he drifted in the remote seas, with no other means of communicating with authorities.

The Frenchman, who is in his 60’s, abandoned his yacht ‘Tchouk Tchouk Nougat’ after the mast broke and the hull sustained damage.

He said he had had confidence in his boat when setting out on his journey, but his mistake was to travel too close to the remnants of a cyclone which created the difficult conditions that snapped the mast.

Delord abandoned ship and spent the next three days adrift in an inflatable life raft until the Orion could reach him. He was too far from Australia for a helicopter to rescue him.

Rescue mission

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) deployed numerous aircraft to drop food, water, communications equipment and a safety suit to Delord and had stayed in regular contact with him as he drifted on the high seas, ensuring a French-speaking official was onboard when they could.

The Orion, carrying 100 passengers on a tour of the Antarctic, was diverted to Delord's aid and completed the dramatic rescue of the experienced sailor on Sunday night.

The skipper of the Orion said that without aerial detection he would never have been able to spot the Frenchman -despite his bright orange raft- because of the huge swells and strong winds.

“My heart was really in my mouth,” said Captain Mike Taylor, who had to wait until Delord and those on board an inflatable craft sent to rescue him were safely back on the Orion.

The vessel moored in Hobart, capital of the island state of Tasmania, early on Tuesday to a cheer from passengers thronging the deck.

Delord completed immigration formalities -made difficult by the fact that he left his passport on his abandoned yacht- onboard the Orion where he has been recuperating in a luxury cabin.

The experienced yachtsman was reportedly following the route of the Vendee Globe ocean race.

He was asked whether he would continue his adventures, despite the loss of his boat which his partner Armelle Launay-Caillaud said was uninsured. "The problem is financial," Delord replied.

The Australian navy famously rescued Frenchman Thierry Dubois and Briton Tony Bullimore after several days adrift in the Southern Ocean during the 1996/97 edition of the Vendee Globe.

- SAPA
Read more on:    australia  |  maritime
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel
 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

15% off LEGO

Save 15% when you buy 2 or more Lego toys. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.