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French yachtsman rescued from the Torres Strait
Copy and paste >> French skipper Daniel Alary on solo round-the-world voyage in tiny yacht rescued in Torres Strait << into Google for picture....
A FRENCH skipper on a solo round-the-world voyage had to abandon his tiny eight-foot yacht in a dramatic rescue in the Torres Strait region.
Daniel Alary, 70, had endured a 100 day ordeal at sea in his microyacht Poisson D'Avril, a French term for ``April fool'', before he sent out an SOS call early yesterday.
The solo skipper was reportedly suffering heart problems and sea sickness as he battled 3m high waves and 40 knot winds in the Coral Sea.
His tiny 2.7m boat - little bigger than a bathtub - is now adrift on the open ocean after the solo yachtsman was winched to safety by a rescue helicopter crew and flown to Thursday Island hospital for treatment.
His SOS call was picked up by French authorities in the Pacific who alerted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra.
Mr Alary said he named his boat ``Poisson d'Avril'' as a joke.
He told The Courier-Mail he was on his 100th day of his adventure when he was forced to stop after his boat had began to take on water and he began to suffer heart problems.
Mr Alary now plans to stay on Thursday Island for three days to reflect on his journey before deciding where to go, after originally planning to head to South Africa for his journey's next leg.
He said he had enjoyed the journey before having to call for help.
Despite the setback, he said ``c'est pas grave'' or ``it's not serious''.
The skipper was on the first leg from French Polynesia to Darwin on his round-the-world adventure.
Rescuers described the ambitious bid to sail the tiny boat around the globe as a ``Don Quixote-like quest''.
Queensland Police Inspector David Lacey said it had been an extremely high-risk rescue.
``Even in a 40m vessel, let alone a tiny little boat like that, you would be bouncing around in those huge seas,'' the Torres Patrol Group commander said.
``He's a brave man to be out at sea in that.
``Even for a seasoned seafarer it would have been scary, if not terrifying.''
The French yachtsman was treated for heart arrhythmia and discharged from hospital yesterday.
His yacht is yet to be salvaged with a volunteer marine rescue crew from Yorke Island in the eastern Torres Strait likely to be tasked to find the ghost ship.
Australian Helicopter managing director Scott Swift said his team pulled off a high-risk manoeuvre to rescue the Frenchman.
``These are never easy, a moving helicopter, high winds and big seas. But fortunately everyone got home safe,'' Mr Swift said.
The April fool skipper activated his emergency distress beacon about 2am on Sunday, which went via authorities in French Polynesia.
AMSA issued a broadcast to shipping in the area and tasked its Cairns based search and rescue Dornier aircraft and a rescue helicopter from Horn Island to assist and head to the area.
AMSA's Dornier located the yachtsman about 11.15am.
Australian Reef Pilot CEO Simon Meyjes said he had a boat and crew on scene but it was impossible to salvage the tiny boat in the near-gale force conditions.
``It's more than an April fools joke,'' Mr Meyjes said.
``This guy is off on his own solo effort, and it's turned into a misadventure.
``It would have put our own personnel at unacceptable risk to secure and tow the boat.''