As sea-lions look on

After his Open 60, Cheminées Poujoulat, was driven ashore in the Kerguelen Islands, skipper Bernard Stamm has managed to refloat the yacht.

He told the race organisers:
“She is floating – albeit low in the water and heeled over. Everyone here has given me a hand and Dominique Wavre also helped me out a huge amount. If we manage to load Cheminées Poujoulat in time, I will also embark on the Marion Dufresne bound for Reunion or elsewhere. I don’t yet know what’s going to happen but there’s a lot of work ahead. The most pressing matter is to get the boat out of the water. It’s not possible to leave her in the water in the Kerguelens. This Vendée Globe started off badly and has ended painfully, because there’s nothing worse than seeing your boat driven onto the shore.”

Frederic Martineau from TAAF – the Territorre Austral et Antartartic Francais – the organization based on the Kerguelen Islands – explained as Stamm tried to bring his Open 60 on to a temporary mooring in 45 knots of wind.

“As Bernard Stamm arrived, the wind got up gusting to 50 knots.. He could not stop the boat and pull her alongside the buoy, in spite of some help from Dominique Wavre, who had gone on board. Very quickly the boat reached a patch of weed. He lost control of the boat and found himself on the rocks. They inflated the liferaft, jumped in it and were taken ashore by Navy divers, who went into the water to help them. Ashore a medical team and vehicles were waiting for them. This morning it took us almost three hours to get the boat off with the help of the Marion Dufresnes and all the teams did a great job. Now the boat is afloat, but I don’t think she can sail. We’re waiting to see what Bernard Stamm wants to do. Yesterday evening, he was completely dispirited about leaving his boat. It really got to him. I think that after a night’s sleep, which was very short and probably not very restful, he is feeling a little better this morning.” Said Martineau.

They had to wait for tide to rise (0800h UTC) and operation took three hours to pull her off with help of Marion Dufresne. The boat is floating and now moored, but seriously damaged.