The astounding seamanship involved in plucking a shipwrecked sailor from a liferaft ricocheting around the immense Southern Ocean deserves attention, racer or not. Theo Stocker introduces the February 2021 issue of Yachting Monthly
Few of us could hope to emulate Jean Le Cam’s dramatic rescue of Kevin Escoffier in the Southern Ocean during this year’s Vendée Globe Race.
While Yachting Monthly wouldn’t normally venture into the lofty world of offshore racing, the astounding seamanship involved in plucking a shipwrecked sailor from a liferaft ricocheting around the immense Southern Ocean deserves attention, racer or not.
Pete Goss is uniquely qualified to comment on the rescue as one of the few to have done exactly this – for Raphaël Dinelli during the 1996/7 Vendée Globe.
Have you considered how you would operate your safety gear when your fingers are numb with cold, for example, or precisely how you will fish out a man overboard?
It’s certainly given me plenty to consider on my boat.
As Goss says, there are no shortcuts to the ‘good, honest seamanship of an old sea dog.’
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There is one more quality that underpins good seamanship, and that is humility: an appreciation of our own insignificance on the face of the sea and a preparedness to put our own ambitions aside to assist and support others.
It is for this reason that another sailor is also being celebrated.
He may not have broken records, but he has been changing the face of sailing.
Jon Holt, the quietly spoken teacher from London, rarely seeks the limelight himself but has propelled his students into the upper echelons of the sailing world.
In the process, he has inculcated in them a love of the sea, a sense of their own worth, and an experience of real responsibility that will last them a lifetime.
‘He has been named YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’