Mystery of lone voyager
Mystery surrounds the voyage of a Russian solo sailor found drifting in a stolen 12ft boat off the Irish coast. Valdim Smolyak, 23, has reportedly been drifting in the Atlantic for three weeks without food or water.
He was rescued by the Irish Naval Service some 210km off Ireland’s
south-west coast after being spotted by marine surveillance. The Irish Coastguard
liaised with the Naval Service and made contact with the man. The 12-foot yacht had apparently been stolen from the northern French port of Roscoff in early September.
Contact with the Russian was complicated by the fact he was apparently
unable to speak — however, he eventually agreed to leave the yacht and
board the the naval patrol ship, LE. Aisling on Thursday. He was taken to
Haulbowline naval base in Cork where he was detained pending questioning by
Navy officials were amazed that he could have spent so long at sea and
still managed to remain in such good health. Communication with the man had
to be conducted through special language cards.