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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

The Little Aussie Lap - Doerr to be rescued

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 7 Jul 21:37 PDT
Xavier Doerr in the Great Australian Bight © AMSA

Xavier Doerr was attempting to complete his Little Aussie Lap after affecting repairs on Perth, but attempts are now under way to retrieve him from his Mini Transat in the Great Australian Bight.

AMSA are now in control of the situation and aerial and maritime assets are in place. The head of Xavier's shore crew, Lee Randall just spoke with us to provide an update. It's obviously a state of affairs that we didn't expect, and it's not one that we wanted. Just under 24 hours ago we lost communications with Xavier. At about five o'clock yesterday afternoon (AEST), we received notification from AMSA that they'd received an activation of his PLB. Upon further consultation the decided to initiate a search for Xavier, and they established some communications with him at probably about eight o'clock last night."

"He's okay. He has sustained some injuries. We're not able to ascertain the true extent of those, and there is water ingress into the boat, but we're also not able to ascertain the true extent of what's going on in the boat right now."

"Some of the readings that we're getting from on site at the moment are saying sort of eight metre seas and upwards of 40 knots, but we have seen an abating of conditions this afternoon. It's a short term abating of conditions, so the best chance we have of getting Xavier off the boat is in the next few hours. Operational control of that is completely with AMSA and with the Master of the ship that's just arrived on site."

Everybody should remember that you're talking about eight metre seas in a 6.5m vessel.

"You know, no one ever doubted Xavier's plan was ambitious, but end of the day, this is a young guy (22 years of age) that had a dream, had the motivation, and had the drive to undertake something like this", said Randall.

"He went after what he wanted. He went after his dream. The whole of his shore team and his sponsorship ship group stand behind Xavier in supporting him in trying to realise his ambitious dream."

"Imagine if he had not got hit by that storm down the coast of Western Australian, makes it around the corner by some sheer act of will and determination, passes by the bottom of Tasmania and on to home. He'd be a champion. He's still a champion right now. He's a achieved something that most people will never even dream of."

Note that Xavier did 5,000 nautical miles in the first leg anyway, which is longer than a trans-Atlantic adventure.

"Xavier's decisions are his own. He very much had the philosophy of going into the challenge that it was unassisted. He didn't want any external weather routing. He didn't want any external influence on his decision making. You know, that's the mark of a champion", said Randall.

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