She races to his aid
Vendee Globe, non-stop, solo, round-the-world racer Sam Davies reveals her horror at hearing of a fellow sailor’s broken thigh:
‘I am writing this as Roxy is speeding towards Generali and Safran.
Yesterday, the race director Denis Horeau asked me to divert towards Generali to act as stand-by to Yann Eliès, who has tragically sustained a serious fracture of his leg. Yann was on the bow changing headsails when his boat, which was charging along at 18 knots, crashed into a wave with such force that he felt his thigh bone crack and collapsed. He crawled back along the deck and radioed race officials requesting immediate help.
‘Marc Guillemot aboard Safran was closer and he is thankfully already next to Yann, offering company and moral support whilst we wait for the Medivac rescue.
‘I can’t describe my feelings of horror when the reality of what Denis was saying to me over the telephone hit home. It is one of the phone calls that I hoped I would never receive – to find out a fellow competitor (and good friend) is injured and suffering. My bruised elbow suddenly became insignificant, although having so recently been hurt, alone on my boat I can understand what Yann must be going through only too well.
‘I am torn between racing to Yann at a breakneck speed and not pushing too hard to risk damage to myself or Roxy. I know I must be sensible, and get some rest en route so that if I am needed I will be on form. I’m ready to do anything to help, as I’m sure any of the other skippers in this race would be.
‘The trouble is, as Yann cannot move and we are alone on our boats in quite big seas, there is little we can do other than offer company and moral support as we await the rescue. We are, of course, also on stand by to help if ever Yann’s condition were to deteriorate. I feel for Marc on Safran right now – being so close to a friend who is suffering so much, but feeling almost useless, is a tough situation to be in. At least Yann can now hear a friendly voice nearby which must be comforting and re-assuring.
‘My thoughts go out to Yann’s wife Soizig and their family, who must be extremely worried to hear that their loved one is in trouble so far away from home.
Thankfully, soon he will be in very good care.’