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T Clewring - Cruising

Vendee Globe - Spain's Sanso capsizes, distress beacons triggered

by Sabina Mollart Rogerson on 4 Feb 2013
Javier Sanso, Acciona 100% EcoPowered - 2012 Vendee Globe © Javier Sanso / ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered
In the Vendee Globe - this Sunday morning 3rd February, around 1049hrs UTC, two distress beacons of Acciona 100% EcoPowered, skippered by Spanish solo sailor Javier Sanso were triggered. The alarms were received at 1052hrs UTC.

At 1049hrs UTC the boat was positioned at 31° 59.00 N 27 26.24 W, so 500 miles west of Madeira and 360 miles south of the Azores island of Sao Miguel


Weather conditions in the area that Sanso was sailing were a NE’ly wind of 15kts. The boat was racing upwind in a moderate trade winds swell. Prior to the incident all was reported to be well on board, only minutes before Sanso had e-mailed a daily report to Race Direction.

At 1110hrs UTC (1210hrs local time Les Sables d’Olonne, France) Vendée Globe Race Direction were alerted by Ricardo Maldonado, the manager of Acciona sailing team, who informed Vendee Globe Race Direction that MRCC Madrid had received the warning that two EPIRB distress beacons (COSPAS/SARSAT) had been activated.

Immediately Race Direction in Les Sables d’Olonne, the MRCC Ponta Delgada (Azores) and CROSS Griz Nez tried to contact the IMOCA Open 60 Acciona but received no reply.

MRCC Ponta Delgada then requested an aerial reconnaissance of the area by plane. A C295 plane was on zone by 1630hrs UTC. On arrival they found Javier Sanso in his liferaft. Sanso made hand signals and smoke signals (smoke hand flare) next to his capsized boat.

At 1650hrs UTC this information was confirmed to Race Direction by MRCC Ponta Delgada.

At 1750hrs UTC an EH101 helicopter was dispatched from the Azores island of Terceira heading to the zone to effect the rescue of Javier Sanso and is expected to be in the area by 2300hrs Vendee Globe website

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