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This fellow is in a bad spot for sure... good on the Australian Navy for coming to his aid!

Amazingly two of his competitors have temporarily abandoned their race and are standing by to lend moral support during the wait. Quite the story.
 

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Thanks for the post-- it is a remarkable story. Sam Davies is enroute to join, and Marc Guillemot is already there, but can't do much to help given the sea conditions.

I prefer the newswires at the Vendee Globe site:

Newswire : Rescue team expected this morning - Vendée Globe

Having a significant injury at sea is something I wouldn't like to have to handle, with with the right first aid courses and preparation.

Kudos and praise to the Australian Navy (the HMAS Arunta) for helping out. Perhaps those who talk about "costs" should also quote the costs of the routine Navy patrols and training exercises, and note how many of them lead to significant events.



The Wikipedia entry for the Arunta has already been updated to show the rescue attempt as part of its operational history:

HMAS Arunta (FFH 151 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
 

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Arunta's crew, and the Australia navy, are probably very happy to have a real rescue (as opposing to a drill or a training exercise) to perform that doesn't involve getting shot at.

I can understand a relatively small population like Australia's carping about the fact that they rescue a lot of people in the surrounding waters some distance away from Australia proper, but they are the only game in town in that entire quadrant (New Zealand excepted). Neither India to the north or Polynesia to the east has the ability to rescue people in boats at this distance.

Bringing two Open 60s alongside each other in the open ocean would destroy both boats, I think, 9 times out of 10. There aren't enough fenders to compensate and the rigs would tangle immediately.
 

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This fellow is in a bad spot for sure... good on the Australian Navy for coming to his aid!

Amazingly two of his competitors have temporarily abandoned their race and are standing by to lend moral support during the wait. Quite the story.
Not to diminish their efforts to help a fellow sailor, but, according to the Vendée site they will not be penalized for the time spent assisting. A jury will also evaluate the other competitors to give them credit for any delays that result from this incident.

Go Algimouss Spirit of Canada and Derek Hatfield!
 

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Not to diminish their efforts to help a fellow sailor, but, according to the Vendée site they will not be penalized for the time spent assisting. A jury will also evaluate the other competitors to give them credit for any delays that result from this incident.

Go Algimouss Spirit of Canada and Derek Hatfield!
True, they will get credit for staying back.. but still that's a difficult thing to quantify in the scheme of the "race" itself. I find it compelling that more than one competitor is able to divert to his aid, however tenuous that aid might be in actuality, it's certainly got to be some moral support. I believe this sort of camaradarie between opponents is quite rare in the world of pro sports.

We've all heard the rants of the costs of rescue - but I agree with Val here that the Navy likely prefers an active assignment over mind-numbing drills. And setting the "ocean-singlehanding-is-dangerous-and-even-illegal" debate aside, these are not boats that set out with inexperienced skippers and poorly found vessels that have gotten themselves into predictable predicaments.

Hopefully a rescue will be affected successfully - this race has already had its share of drama and is turning into a bit of a demolition derby.

And indeed... go Derek go!
 

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Stricken yachtsman rescued by navy - CNN.com

updated 8:01 a.m. EST, Sat December 20, 2008


Stricken yachtsman rescued by navy

(CNN) -- A French yachtsman badly injured during the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race was rescued Saturday by an Australian Navy ship around 1,400 kilometers (850 miles) south of Perth.
Yann Elies, pictured aboard the Generali at the start of the Vendee Global race.

Yann Elies, pictured aboard the Generali at the start of the Vendee Global race.

The frigate HMAS Arunta had been dispatched to rescue Yann Elies after he broke his left leg on Thursday when his boat, the Generali, slammed into a wave, knocking him into the deck.

He had managed to drag himself back into the 18-meter vessel's cabin but had been unable to reach any painkillers, food or water. Race officials had classed Elies as being in a life-threatening condition.

Two crew members transferred Elies aboard the Arunta earlier Saturday, according to the Vendee Globe Web site.

Fellow competitor Marc Guillemot, who monitored the rescue after changing course to check on Elies' condition and provide radio support, said the operation had been executed flawlessly.

"Some highly professional work. They prepared Yann for the transfer. Still heavy swell but they carried out maneuver perfectly. Yann is now aboard the frigate and has a doctor taking care of him," Guillemot reported.

"It was like a dream. It didn't seem real. They took care of that magnificently."

The Arunta's commanding officer, Commander Stephen Bowater said his crew has displayed exceptional professionalism during the operation to reach the French sailor.

"We have proven again that the Navy constantly maintains the ability to respond at short notice to emergency situations," Bowater said in an Australian Navy statement.

Elies is expected to be transferred to a military hospital in Perth, according to the race Web site. A crew from Team Generali was en route to Australia to sail his boat back to southern Australia.

The Vendee Global race, which takes place every four years, is one of the most grueling events in yachting, taking competitors around the tips of Africa, Australia and South America without any stopovers.

Thirty boats started the latest edition last month from the French port of Les Sables d'Olonne but 12 have already abandoned the race.
 

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True, they will get credit for staying back.. but still that's a difficult thing to quantify in the scheme of the "race" itself. I find it compelling that more than one competitor is able to divert to his aid, however tenuous that aid might be in actuality, it's certainly got to be some moral support. I believe this sort of camaradarie between opponents is quite rare in the world of pro sports.

We've all heard the rants of the costs of rescue - but I agree with Val here that the Navy likely prefers an active assignment over mind-numbing drills. And setting the "ocean-singlehanding-is-dangerous-and-even-illegal" debate aside, these are not boats that set out with inexperienced skippers and poorly found vessels that have gotten themselves into predictable predicaments.

Hopefully a rescue will be affected successfully - this race has already had its share of drama and is turning into a bit of a demolition derby.

And indeed... go Derek go!
No doubt there is a history of these fierce competitors risking everything - not just the race - to help each other. Soldini rescued Autissier in the Around Alone in 1998/1999 (&, I think, went on to win the race!) and Peter Goss was issued the Légion d’Honneur for his rescue of Dinelli in the 1996 Vendée Globe race. (the Dinelli rescue is described in chilling detail in Godforsaken Sea.)
Not to mention our own Derek Hatfield getting into trouble in the 2002 Around Alone, in which Alan Paris slowed down to be ready to assist Hatfield - even before Hatfield was dismasted.
I hope that my previous post was not taken as a slam at the other sailors.
 

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Interesting what they did with Generali, they left it sailing north(unmanned) under minimal sail while a crew from the team is flying to Australia, going to take a motor launch out to the boat, then sail it back.
 

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I'm curious as to how he broke his femur. The femur is one of the strongest bones in the human body. It takes a considerable amount of force to do so.
 

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I'm curious as to how he broke his femur. The femur is one of the strongest bones in the human body. It takes a considerable amount of force to do so.
Apparently he was at the bow (leaning over the pulpit), prepping to rig another foresail and a large wave washed him across the boat to the end of his tether. The pulpit height was probably just between knee and pelvis... not hard to imagine something bad happening there.
 

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It's reasonable to question the advisability of sailing around the world alone, particularly in the waters of the southern oceans, but the height of callousness to debate the costs of rescuing one of the participants. If you've a navy, a merchant ship, or any other sea-going craft capable of helping, you're honor bound to give that help. If you're concerned about the cost you might consider abandoning the sea as she's not for you or your nation. The time for debate is pre-departure. It would not be unreasonable for the IMO to discuss the existence of abnormally risky ventures and consider having their organizers post a substantial bond or carry the requisite insurances for the perceived risk and potential expense of rescue.
 

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They (somebody, don't know who) should make these guys post a bond to defray the cost of the inevitable rescues that occur.
 

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Considering the monies involved in outfitting one of these boats, that is a completely reasonable suggestion. :)
They (somebody, don't know who) should make these guys post a bond to defray the cost of the inevitable rescues that occur.
 

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Considering the monies involved in outfitting one of these boats, that is a completely reasonable suggestion. :)
From what I've read about this and other races: the teams with the deepest pockets are at a distinct advantage.

If the race is about sailing prowess, not the ability to raise money, then I don't think that adding to the financial burden of the competitors will do anything to enhance the sport.

As somebody pointed out, the navies and other rescue services are out on drills and patrols anyway. I haven't heard anybody suggest that the rescuers would rather not perform these rescues.

As a taxpayer, I wouldn't have any hesitation in supporting my government's decision to foot the bill for any maritime rescue. It would certainly be an improvement over what they waste my money on at the moment.

And before anyone has a bash about the Canadian navy etc. - we have a proud (and recent) history, as a country, of stepping up and providing solace to those in need.
 

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They (somebody, don't know who) should make these guys post a bond to defray the cost of the inevitable rescues that occur.

I'm with you on this one, Chuckles. Single handed racing around the world is not.... well, it's not necessary. When we lived in Oz in the 90s there were a number of ROW single handed racers rescued by the Aussie navy (and good on 'em for doing it), but I do understand the postion of Oz taxpayers as well. It seems to happen too often. We're not talking here about rescuing merchant seamen, or even your average cruiser who happens to get in trouble. These guys are sailing into the Southern Ocean intentionally. They race for no other purpose than to see who get's around first and who collects the big prize money and lucrative sponsorships.

The organizers of these races should be required to post big bonds to reimburse nations who are called to the aid of their racers. Only fair, IMHO.

But then, who's going to 'require' them to do so? And are the Aussies or Kiwi navies not going to come to their aid if they don't?
 

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Yes, but many of the rescues are in places that no one is going to be doing drills or patrols, due to how far they are from any point of land.
From what I've read about this and other races: the teams with the deepest pockets are at a distinct advantage.

If the race is about sailing prowess, not the ability to raise money, then I don't think that adding to the financial burden of the competitors will do anything to enhance the sport.

As somebody pointed out, the navies and other rescue services are out on drills and patrols anyway. I haven't heard anybody suggest that the rescuers would rather not perform these rescues.

As a taxpayer, I wouldn't have any hesitation in supporting my government's decision to foot the bill for any maritime rescue. It would certainly be an improvement over what they waste my money on at the moment.

And before anyone has a bash about the Canadian navy etc. - we have a proud (and recent) history, as a country, of stepping up and providing solace to those in need.
 

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Billy,
If you read my above post you'll see my reference to the IMO. If the IMO takes action and the race organizers are not within IMO compliance it is primae facie evidence of unseaworthiness and their marine insurance is invalidated. And, you know those boats are insured!
 
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