The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating the rescue of Alain Delord, French solo sailor attempting a circumnavigation in his A35 yacht Tchouk Tchouk Nougat. Delord has been dismasted some 400 nm south of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean and has taken to a life raft after abandoning his yacht, which had suffered hull damage during the dismasting.
Happier times - Alain Delord as he heads out for his circumnavigation
Delord had been caught in a severe system before the dismasting. On Friday night, AMSA’s Essendon-based Dornier aircraft confirmed the sailor had abandoned his yacht and was in a life raft.
A dream ended - Alain Delord’s intended route, showing dismasting and abandonment point
Throughout the night, a civilian aircraft has remained on scene and received communications from the sailor.
They also sighted a light in the area and attempted to raise communications with nearby vessels. This morning the Dornier will return to the scene will attempt to gain communications with the sailor. Throughout today, two more aircraft will be used in the operation to assist in communicating with the sailor and vessels in the area.
A cruise ship, Orion, has started making its way towards the yacht’s position and is due to arrive tomorrow (Sunday) evening. Aircraft will remain in the area until a vessel is able to assist. The location is too distant for a helicopter to rescue the sailor.
In yesterday’s task, the Dornier dropped a second life raft and communications equipment. An associate of the sailor contacted AMSA early on Friday morning after the yacht had been dismasted.
After making contact with the sailor, who did not declare he was in distress at the time, AMSA advised him to head towards Hobart.
At approximately 1:00pm AEDT that afternoon, AMSA detected an emergency beacon activation from the yacht 500 nautical miles south west of Hobart.
Three other solo sailors are currently attempting non-stop unassisted circumnavigations. They are British sailor Jeanne Socrates in her 38ft Nereida who left Vancouver in September, Indian sailor Abilash Tomy, who left Mumbai on November 1st on his 50 ft Hallberg Rassy designed but Indian manufactured Mhadei, and Chinese sailor Guo Chuan, who left Quindao on November 18 on an Akilaria 40.