According to sources in Dunedin, the 32metre trimaran, Groupama 3 is under tow, still inverted, and is making 2.5 kts in the direction of Dunedin, New Zealand.
The remains of Groupama 3 are understood to have been under tow since nightfall on Wednesday, and at 1600hrs this afternoon, NZT, the salvage ship Clan MacLeod was 63nm from the New Zealand coast.
Arrival time was being estimated at late Friday afternoon/evening.
All the major components are understood to have been recovered by the Groupama 3 crew aboard Clan Macleod.
The next step, one she arrives in Dunedin is to lift the boat using a waterfront crane. It is not known if a suitable ship is immediately available for Groupama 3 to be transported back to France. In an earlier report in the Otago Daily Times (www.odt.co.nz) it was reported that:
Overturned French racing yacht Groupama 3 was last night under tow, heading slowly towards the Otago coast.
Earlier in the day, crew members had raced to secure the stricken maxi-trimaran before dark.
Nine of the sailors rescued from the round-the-world racing yacht after it capsized off Cape Saunders on Monday left Dunedin on Dunedin boat Clan Mac-Leod on Tuesday evening to return to the damaged yacht. They spent much of yesterday salvaging the $NZ16 million yacht.
Crewman Yves Parlier was left on shore yesterday to communicate essential information to the crew and liaise with sponsors in France, organise insurance and a container ship to take the yacht back to France.
He said the crew, including two divers, had managed to get all of the rigging and detachable materials off the body of the trimaran and on to Clan Mac-Leod yesterday as the wreck drifted about 150km due east off the Oamaru coast.
However, it had taken longer than expected to dismantle much of the 18-tonne boat.
The three pieces of the snapped mast were loaded on to Clan MacLeod by 6pm yesterday and the crew were attempting to salvage the section of broken-off outrigger hull, which had floated 500m from the upturned trimaran.
Using heavy weights as ballast, the plan was to attach Groupama 3 to the 1000hp Clan MacLeod with strops and pull the remainder of the boat over, with the intention of turning it upright before dark, Mr Parlier said.
It was a delicate operation that needed to be carried out carefully if the yacht was not to be damaged any further.
The crew would continue to salvage items from the boat this morning before it reached shore.
The Port Otago harbour control room said a maritime radio broadcast had indicated Clan MacLeod was towing the tri maran at between 1.5 knots and 2 knots, and was 84 nautica miles off Taiaroa Head at 10pm
The crew would make another attempt to right the vessel today