Good news from the Southern Ocean,
Alain Delord departing on his round the world voyage in late October 2012
An Australian Maritime Safety Authority aircraft, a Dornier, located 63 year French sailor Alain Delord in his liferaft on Friday night after receiving a distress signal from the Frenchman, who had abandoned his yacht after it was dismasted and the hull holed and now the sailor has been rescued.
Delord, an experienced yachtsman who has logged 27 TransAtlantic crossings, was on a single-handed voyage around the world and was south-west of Tasmania when the yacht lost its mast. In heavy seas, it seems that the jagged end of the mast holed the yacht, forcing Delord to abandon the boat and take to his liferaft.
The aircraft dropped a second liferaft, a survival suit, food and water, along with communication equipment to the yachtsman, with a translator assisting in communication with Delord, who apparently only speaks French.
An Australian based cruise ship, the PV Orion, 11 days into an 18 day Antarctic and sub-Antarctic cruise with about 100 passengers and 30 crew left Commonwealth Bay and headed north for some 50 hours to the reach the French sailor aboard a life raft around 500 nautical miles south of Tasmania.
The ship, equipped with inflatable Zodiac boats and an experienced crew capable of mounting a rescue despite reports of a seven metre swell and 50 knot winds.
Aboard the Orion is experienced Antarctic mariner Don McIntyre who is leading an expedition south. He wa been quoted in Hobart media as saying 'His biggest threat…will be the physical damage from the waves and hypothermia from the cold….hopefully he is wearing a survival suit.'
The ship reached Mr Delord about 9:30pm (AEDT) on Sunday night and soon after same the good news..
'I'm very pleased to confirm the solo sailor, who had been in a life raft in the Southern Ocean for the past three days, has been recovered by the cruise ship Orion and AMSA believes he is being taken to Hobart,' a AMSA spokeswoman said.