SAILING: Autissier in distress

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The Independent Online
An Australian Hercules C130 rescue plane was last night searching for the French solo sailor, Isabelle Autissier, after two emergency signals were activated from her yacht, Ecureuil Poitou Charentes, in the BOC Single-handed Round the World Race.

The emergency position- indicating radio beacons put the 60ft yacht, which had been limping to the second stopover in Sydney under jury rig, just under 1,000 miles south of Adelaide, deep in the "roaring forties" and thought to be in heavy winds and seas.

The nearest fellow competitor is the Englishman, Nigel Rowe. He had hoved to, unable to make progress in his yacht Sky Catcher about 250 miles north-east of Autissier's last known position, in 50-70 knot winds and 45-foot waves. If Rowe finds Autissier, he will try to drop additional life-rafts, survival gear, radios and food.