Golden Globe: Another successful rescue
Published on October 23rd, 2018
(October 23, 2018; Day 115) – French solo yachtsman Loïc Lepage was successfully transferred from his dismasted yacht Laaland by the Japanese bulk carrier Shiosai at 00:53 UTC today.
Lepage, who was competing in the Golden Globe Race on his Nicholson 32, had set off the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon on October 20 when the combination of the rigging failure and resultant water ingress posed to a high a risk to proceed.
The rescue, which took place in the South Indian Ocean some 670 miles SW of Perth Western Australia, commenced shortly after first light (local time) once the Australian P-8A search and rescue plane was overhead. Members of the Shiosai crew were lowered down in the ship’s recovery vessel, and though the rolling swell presented a few challenges, Lepage was plucked from his yacht and successfully transferred to the ship.
Francis Tolan, skipper of the S/V Alizes II, a Beneteau Ocean 43 competing in the Long Route solo circumnavigation who also came to the aid of Lepage, was released from search and rescue tasking and sincerely thanked by both the Golden Globe Race organizers and the Australian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra, which oversaw the operation.
In a message to Alizes II, JRCC said: “Your efforts and endeavours to provide a fellow mariner with requested assistance in challenging conditions are in keeping with the greatest traditions of a mariner at sea. Well done and thank you.”
Don McIntyre, Chairman of the Golden Globe Race, added: “Everyone at the Golden Globe Race have complete admiration and the utmost respect for all involved with the successful rescue of Loïc. The professionalism, expertise and passion displayed at all levels is truly amazing. You are all a great asset to Australia and mariners everywhere.”
The 176,827 ton Japanese bulk carrier Shiosai has now resumed her course with Loïc Lepage aboard, bound for Las Palmas, Argentina and is scheduled to dock there on November 22.
The tracking signal for Lepage’s yacht Laaland ceased at 06:30 UTC today and is assumed to have been scuttled.
Lepage was sailing the Chichester Class within the Golden Globe Race, having stopped in Cape Town to make repairs and replenish supplies. Eight of the original 18 entrants remain in the solo non-stop challenge.
The 2018 Golden Globe Race started for 17 skippers from Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday July 1, 2018, with the inaugural solo non-stop around the world yacht race expected to take 9-10 months to complete.
The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world race in 1968-69 when rules then allowed competitors to start from ports in northern France or UK between June 1st and October 31st.
A notable twist to the 2018 Golden Globe Race format is how entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available in that first race, with the premise being to keep the race within financial reach of every dreamer.
The rules allow for one breach of the strict solo, non-stop un-assisted circumnavigation without the aid of modern electronic navigation aids regulations that make this Race unique. However, those that do move down to the Chichester Class as if, like Sir Francis Chichester in 1966-67, they have made one stop during their solo circumnavigation.
Those who breach the rules for a second time are deemed to have retired from the GGR Event and the organisers have no responsibility or obligation to them.