Golden Globe Race skipper Loïc Lepage, is now safely onboard the bulk carrier Shiosai after his Nicholson 32 MK X dismasted and began taking on water some 600 miles south west of Perth, Australia

23 October 2018

French Golden Globe Race yachtsman Loïc Lepage is now heading to Las Palmas, Argentina onboard the bulk carrier Shiosai having been rescued from his dismasted Nicholson 32 MK X Laaland.

The 62-year-old skipper is not injured, and was successfully transferred to the bulk carrier using the ship’s SOLAS man overboard recovery vessel at around 12pm AEDT on 23 October 2018.

Nicholson 32 belonging to Loic Lepage dismasted

Lepage cut away the rigging before leaving the boat. Credit: Kim Daniels/AMSA

Lepage had cut away all of the rigging ahead of leaving his yacht.

Golden Globe Race HQ later reported that the tracking signal from Laaland had ceased and it is presumed the vessel has now sunk.

The operation was co-ordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which sent a Challenger jet and a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft to provide assistance with the rescue.

Solo skipper Francis Tolan, who is taking part in the French event, La Longue Route, which commemorates Bernard Moitessier’s decision to abandon the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race, was also on standby.

A dismasted Nicholson 32 Laaland

Loic Lepage is now heading for the Canary Islands onboard a bulk carrier after abandoning his yacht. Credit: Kim Daniels/AMSA

The skipper of the Beneteau Ocean 43, Alizes II had diverted some 300 miles to assist in the operation.

A spokesman for the Golden Globe Race thanked all those involved in the rescue efforts.

Lepage has been successfully rescued from his Nicholson 32

The dismasted Laaland. Credit: Kim Daniels/AMSA

‘GGR thanks all those involved for such professional dedication and passion to secure Loïc from a very difficult situation. We just spoke to his family and they are eternally grateful to everyone. Fantastic news! We look forward to seeing Francis now continue on safely with his own solo non stop circumnavigation in Longue Route 2018 officiel.’

22 October 2018

Two boats have been diverted to rescue Golden Globe Race skipper, Loïc Lepage after his Nicholson 32 Mk X, Laaland dismasted 600 miles south-west of Perth, Australia.

The yacht is now taking on water at a rate of around 160 litres per hour, although Lepage said onboard pumps were keeping up and he was in no immediate danger of sinking.

The 62-year-old skipper has also set off his EPIRB.

The bulk carrier Shiosai, which had been sailing west across the Great Australian Bight, is now heading towards his position, as is fellow solo racer, Francis Tolan, who is taking part in the French event, La Longue Route, which commemorates Bernard Moitessier’s decision to abandon the 1968-69 Golden Globe Race.

The skipper of the Beneteau Ocean 43, Alizes II is some 300 miles north-west of Laaland’s position, when he offered Lepage assistance. He is expected to arrive in the next few hours.

A Challenger aircraft dispatched by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at Canberra (JRCC Aus.) has flown over Laaland. The crew spoke to Lepage via VHF radio, who advised that he was conducting repairs to his engine and did not require the pump or any other supplies to be dropped.

The aircraft reported that the mast did not appear to be attached to the vessel, and that no other significant external damage was visible.

Lepage is in the race’s Chichester Class after making a stop in Cape Town to replenish water supplies and make repairs to his SB radio back last month.

Meanwhile, British skipper Susie Goodall has been left with damage to her self-steering gear after being knocked down three times in the last 24 hours.

Susie Goodall passing through the first GGR gate head of entering the Doldrums

Susie Goodall is hoping to make repairs in Hobart. Credit: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

She has told Golden Globe Race organisers that the self steering is ‘too hard to fix for now. Hands are a mess! Water tanks now nearly empty. Looking forward to arriving HOBART’.

Russian Igor Zaretskiy has also face challenging times, having spent hours repairing Esmeralda’s forestay in difficult conditions which has left him badly bruised.

Continues below…

It is better news for Dutch skipper Mark Slats who has made it through the compulsory Hobart gate on 21 October 2018.

Currently in second place, he took full advantage of the sunshine and warmth to dry out wet clothing and bedding and to check the rig of his Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick.

Recalling his experiences across the South Indian Ocean, he said: ‘It was pretty rough, but I’m still going and the boat is in good shape, so I am happy. The Indian Ocean has been very hard and very painful a lot of the time. They say the Pacific is much better, so I am looking forward to that!’

Mark Slats in Australia

Mark Slats at the Hobart Gate

Describing the storm that led to Indian Abhilash Tomy and Ireland’s Gregor McGuckin being rolled and dismasted, he said: ‘The seas were unbelievable, but the waves were horrific up to 15 metres high. I copped one wave that broke over the back and filled the boat, and everything inside was wet.’

‘The worst damage has been to my electrics. I have no way to monitor the batteries, no radio and no cassette players. I had two of these and two Walkmans but all have got wet. Only my VHF radio and AIS are still working,’ he added.

Last week, Slats reported that he may have fractured a rib after being hit by a toolbox that flew across the cabin during a knockdown. He now reports that ‘it is not a problem. It only hurts a bit when I am lying down for any length of time.’

Slats left the Hobart drop after the allotted 90 minutes in pursuit of French race leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede.

Latest positions at 15:30 UTC 22 October 2018

1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick
3 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All
4 Susie Goodall GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight
5 Istvan Kopar (USA) Tradewind 35 Puffin
6 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria
7 Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut
8 Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda

Ertan Beskardes (GBR) Rustler 36 Lazy Otter
Kevin Farebrother (AUS) Tradewind 35 Sagarmatha
Nabil Amra (PAL) Biscay 36 Liberty II
Philippe Péché (FRA) Rustler 36 PRB
Antoine Cousot (FRA) Biscay 36 Métier Intérim
Francesco Cappelletti (ITA) Endurance 35 007
Are Wiig (NOR) OE32 Olleanna
Abhilash Tomy (IND) Suhaili replica Thuriya
Gregor McGuckin (IRE) Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance
Loïc Lepage (FRA) Nicholson 32 Laaland