Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2019 - RS21 Spring Offer - Leaderboard

Maxi Banque Populaire capsizes off Morocco - now under tow

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 15 Apr 2018 17:16 PDT 16 April 2018
Maxi Banque Populaire IX. Skipper, Armal Le Cleac'h. © Easy Ride / BPCE

Following the capsize of the maxi trimaran Bank Populaire IX on Saturday night off the coast of Morocco, the crew was airlifted off the boat by the Moroccan Navy, and the boat is now under two to Casablanca.

Banque Populaire is an Ultim class trimaran 32 metres long (105ft) with 23 Metres beam (75ft) and a 38metre mast (125ft).

She capsized in 18-20kts of wind and moderate seas off the coast of Casablanca on Saturday night.

Vendee Globe winner, Armel Le Cléac'h, along with crew member, Pierre Emmanuel Hérissé and cameraman, was taken off later in the day and arrived by helicopter at Casablanca, where the French Consulate has supported them.

Members of the shore team - two divers and three members of the technical team - arrived at the upturned boat on Sunday aboard. After several hours of operations and recovery of damaged equipment, the tug began the tow of the trimaran toward Casablanca.

Ronan Lucas, the Director of the Team Bank Populaire reports on social media that they have recovered some pieces of the mast which was broken in the incident and were trapped under the boat.

He said that conditions in the capsize area were good allowing the team to work well.

The tow has been able to start but will take time. The crew and the members of the team are trying to preserve as much of the trimaran as possible during the tow to Casablanca, he reported. The wind conditions are still relatively good, but the team has to be extremely careful.

Skipper Armel Le Cléac'h details circumstances of the incident (translated and edited from French): "We started since Tuesday in Lorient, we did a big run along the Portugal coast. As part of our practice, we picked up a crossing point in the North West of the Canary Islands. We did our return to Cadiz to go pick up the crew for the rest of the program.

"The wind and sea conditions were 18/20 knots of wind at the time of the incident.

"The sea was choppy because the wind had been blowing for quite some time on the west coast of Portugal.

"Down to the Canaries, we had strong winds up to 40-45 knots. We were on a tight edge, a reef in the main and the small jib. I did the routings, and over the hours the wind was predicted to soften. The conditions were stable, I had checked, and there were no signs of a storm ahead. Pierre-Emmanuel (the Technical Director of the Team Banque Populaire) and our media-man were inside; I was in my cabin from previous manoeuvres.

"I was lying down for five minutes on the to begin a nap. The boat began to rise very quickly as a result of an increase in wind. I had no time to exit. I eased the mainsail, but it was not enough. Everything happened very fast; the boat tipped on the side. I was upside down in the water that had flooded the cabin. Pierre-Emmanuel called me to see if I was there. We managed to hear each other between the two hulls. I managed to get out of there into the central hull, safe with the others.

"I immediately made an effort to ensure that nobody got hurt. I very quickly triggered the distress to alert authorities.

"We located the safety equipment and put it on our survival suits. I contacted Ronan Lucas (the Director of the Team Banque Populaire) by the cell phone that was in the grab bag to tell him that we were all on board, and especially that we had no injuries.

"Two hours later, a cargo ship arrived in the area, and we spoke with them.

"It was night, we couldn't get out of the boat immediately.

"Finally, a Navy helicopter was able to take off from Casablanca at lunchtime to pick us up. On arrival of the helicopter, one after the other, we boarded the helicopter, and we landed at the military port of Casablanca.

"We were welcomed by the Moroccan Navy and were able to eat and do some health checks. We thank them for all as well as the crew of the helicopter. We have then been supported by the Consulate of France."

"The conditions at sea were manageable. We had sailed before in conditions that were much stronger and demanding. Everything changed in a few seconds. In my opinion, the capsize was linked to a sudden gust of wind.

"At the time we left the boat, three hulls and crossbeams/arms were intact. However, the mast was is broken into several pieces.

"We are now racing and are now trying to get to the boat in the shortest time. All our efforts are now focussed to recover and be at the start of the Route du Rhum in November."

Related Articles

Famous martini
Shaken, not stirred - we're talking about the Sayonara Cup Ah huh. So that would make it shaken, not stirred. Right. Now what we are referring to is the recent running and winning of the Sayonara Cup, which we featured last week in Left Languishing. Posted on 24 Mar
Gladwell's Line: Dinghy trials...Am Cup..18fters
A scan of the Sailing scene from the past week or so - America's Cup, 18fters and Singlehanders A look at the Evaluation Trials for the Single Handed Mens and Womens Single Handed Dinghy to be used at the 2024 Olympics. What was really behind the Applications to the America's Cup Arb Panel? And a look at the Kiwi win in the JJ's in Sydney Posted on 22 Mar
Olympics 2024: Singlehander Trials conclude
Kontides wins 2024 Olympic single-hander equipment trials in Valencia Grand finale for the Olympic Trials in Valencia. The fourth and final day of testing at sea has reserved Posted on 20 Mar
Left Languishing
Trophies, are somewhat different from boats. They don't tend to deteriorate quite so badly Trophies are somewhat different from boats. They don't tend to deteriorate quite so badly when they get left alone for ages. Case in point, the Sayonara Cup. It has had several periods in its life when it has been left to its own devices. Posted on 17 Mar
Lion New Zealand returns after $1million refit
Lion New Zealand is safely back in the water after completing a major million-dollar refit Nearly two years after her arrival at Yachting Developments in May 2017, Lion New Zealand is safely back in the water after completing a major million-dollar refit at the yard. You or your club/organisation can help to defray the outstanding refit cost. Posted on 13 Mar
Nothing wrong with your eyesight
Look closely, and you'll notice it is two Black Jacks, not one superimposed over the other. Look closely, and you'll notice it is two Black Jacks, not one superimposed over the other. The upper one with the rig still in is the world famous, and ever-conquering Reichel/Pugh 100 supermaxi with the heavy bulb, and the other is the modified VO70. Posted on 10 Mar
JJ Giltinan proving to be a regatta for the ages
In Sydney, New Zealand's defence of the JJ Giltinan Championship is progressing well In Sydney, New Zealand's defence of the JJ Giltinan Championship is progressing well with two races left in the regatta. Posted on 8 Mar
NZ Sailing Trust launch restores Lion New Zealand
Sir Peter Blake's Lion New Zealand will return to the Auckland Viaduct Harbour on Monday 11th March Sir Peter Blake's Lion New Zealand will return to the Auckland Viaduct Harbour on Monday 11th March at 4pm following an extensive 18 month restoration at Yachting Developments, Hobsonville. Posted on 7 Mar
Kurt Arrigo: Images of a 70kt storm hitting Malta
A storm gusting to 70kts hit Malta with massive waves pummeling the Ricasoli Breakwater Lighthouse A storm gusting to 70kts hit Malta on February 24, 2019 with massive waves pummeling the Ricasoli Breakwater Lighthouse in Valletta. Top international photographer Kurt Arrigo was on hand to capture the power of the tempest. Posted on 5 Mar
Ill-conceived ideas by spurious productions
We had NSW Labor release a preposterous policy just before the impending election During the week, we had NSW Labor release a preposterous policy in a rush just before that State's impending election. Now if one could get away with saying brain-fart, then I would have simply written that. Posted on 3 Mar
SCRW2019 FooterMarine Resources BOTTOMMelges 14 2019 Footer