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Circumnavigating French sailor in 8ft boat rescued in Torres Strait

by Des Ryan on 8 Jul 2013
French sailor rescued in 8ft boat, trying to circumnavigate the world .. .
He set out from French Polynesia to circumnavigate the world in the smallest sailing boat ever, but he only got as far as Torres Strait between New Guinea and Australia's Cape York.

His name has not been released but he is known to be safe after a dramatic rescue from his eight-foot yacht.


The conditions were poor at the time of the rescue - 3m-high seas and 40 knot winds - but the solo skipper, identified as Daniel Alary, was reportedly suffering heart problems when he activated his emergency distress beacon in the Coral Sea in the early hours of one morning this week.

It is understood the sailor had been at sea for 100 days in his 2.9m microyacht Poisson d'Avril (April Fool) and boat, which had to be abandoned, is still adrift.

His SOS call was picked up by French authorities in the Pacific who alerted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority(AMSA) in Canberra.

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 some nine hours later, during the morning.

He was winched off his stricken vessel by the Horn Island rescue helicopter crew and flown to Thursday Island hospital for treatment and discharged this afternoon.

The skipper was on the first leg from French Polynesia to Darwin as part of his round-the-world adventure. 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. Trying to tow the yacht at the time of the rescue 'would have imposed an unacceptable risk', according to Australian Reef Pilot CEO Simon Meyjes.

While it is reported that rescuers (who, with respect, usually have little knowledge of the issues for sailing boats of varying sizes) described his ambitious bid to sail the open seas in such a tiny boat as a 'Don Quixote-like quest', it's not so far fetched.

The current record for a circumnavigation by a solo sailor in the world's smallest boat is held by an Australian sailor, after a three year voyage back in the 80's.

Serge Testa circumnavigated from 84-87 starting out from Brisbane, in Australia. The boat, called Acrohc Australis, was a self designed aluminum hull, that was 11' 10' when he started out and modified en-route by the addition of a bowsprit to a final LOA to a shade under 14'.

He wrote and self published a book about his experience titled 500 Days Around the World in a 12' Boat.

His record is still unbroken.

Swedish sailor and boat-builder Sven Yrvind, is already famous for sailing alone across oceans in tiny boats of his own design and is currently planning a circumnavigation in a 10' boat.

Yrvind has made several ocean crossings in his tiny boats. In 1980, Yrvind rounded Cape Horn in 'Bris II', a 20'/5.90m boat of his own design, alone and in the middle of winter, a record for smallest boat to round the Cape. This achievement won Yrvind the 1980 Royal Cruising Club medal for seamanship.

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