Capsize leaves Javier Sanso drifting in liferaft awaiting rescue in Vendée Globe


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The Independent Online

Spanish solo sailor Javier Sanso was in his liferaft and waiting to be rescued hundreds of miles south-east of the Azores after his yacht Acciona capsized in the in the Vendée Globe round the world race. He had taken to his liferaft mid-morning on Sunday.

It is not known what caused the capsize, though a keel loss would be more likely than a dismasting, and both distress beacons were set off. Race headquarters was co-ordinating the rescue along with various maritime authorities.

Ahead of Sanso, heart in mouth as he waits to see if his weather calculations come true, and every alarm he can muster turned on to make sure he does not infringe the traffic separation rules as he rounds Cape Finisterre, Mike Golding has established himself in fifth place in the Vendée Globe round the world race.

His 60-foot Gamesa held a 76-mile advantage over the man, Jean le Cam, with whom he has been in a tussle for weeks, nearly all of them without his important Code Zero sail, which was trashed early on in the Southern Ocean run.“The routing looks a bit better for me this [Sunday] morning,” Golding told race control. “We are very close to be honest, you can't split the difference except to say I think Jean's routing is the safer bet, but, on the other hand, there is another high coming in and Jean ends up potentially in some difficulty in getting going really but we'll have to see. He has gone strangely quiet at the moment, hasn't he?!”

Golding is due to finish on Wednesday night and ahead of him should be the disqualified Bernard Stamm of Switzerland.

And there will be no Monday blues for Jean-Pierre Dick who has restarted after being at anchor and shelter for three days. He had reported to the race committee that he used his engine while setting off.

The rules are very clear in the VG – no outside assistance of any kind and that includes using the engine with a system of sending back pictures of the engine seals whenever requested by the committee.

He is on the final 290 miles of the 2,400 he will have sailed since losing his keel on Virbac-Paprec at midnight on 21 January. Sunday night the jury put his mind at rest by announcing that no penalty would be imposed.

As long as he can stop the boat, stabilised by tonnes of water in the ballast tanks, from turning turtle he will, the rules jury willing, still be fourth into Les Sables d’Olonne.

Whatever the jury says, the man from Nice will be given a star’s welcome late Monday afternoon after a remarkable feat of seamanship and determination.

Earlier in Sunday Tanguy Lamotte reported : « At 02.00, I hit very violently an unidentified floating object. My port dagerboard is damaged so badly that I cannot take it out the case. I tried to move it but without any success. For the moment I do not know what to do.

« In addition, my damaged rudder is now broken. So I have a half rudder to starboard and a half daggerboard to port.

« There is also water in the boat. I don’t move at a very high speed at the moment and that allows me to remove quickly the water and protect my electrical equipment. The situation is under control, but it is imperative that I find a solution to remove my daggerboard and then plug the hole.

« I continue my way to Les Sables at the moment and I think even losing a daggerboard I’ll be able to make it. I have resin onboard and I should be able to make the repairs. »