torsdag 26 december 2013

Bärgningen av Bernard Stamm och Damien Guillou

Det här är ett klipp från (här) om bärgningen av Bernard Stamm och Damien Guillou från IMOCA60:an Cheminées Poujoulat som sjönk tidigt på julaftonsmorgonen. Det är en översättning av Bernard Stamms franska orginaltext. Översättningen är gjord av signaturen PCP, som sedan många år håller igång tråden "Iteresting Sailboats" på Sailnet.

"Bernard Stamm and Damien Guillou were recovered by a Norwegian freighter on Monday around 7:30 am, 180 Miles off Brest when they brought back Cheminées Poujoulat fromAzores to France. Both men saw the IMOCA monohull break into two , then slowly sinking and they owe their survival to the effectiveness of crew of the freighter Star Isfjord.

Damien and I, we were 200 miles from the tip of Cornwall and 180 nautical miles from Brest . We were a little ahead of the front  sailing downwind. There were between 43 and 45 knots but it was manageable. We were prepared for this gale. We were under storm jib, with four reefs in the mainsail. Clearly, we really had the handbrake on, but in a wave, the boat broke in two, just near the movable foils.

We prepared things on the eventuality of having to leave the boat. The sea was huge so we tried to assess the risk of the boat degradation to the point of being better to abandon it. We tried to take away the mast but we did not succeed. It was really too dangerous to try to do that. However, we managed to make it fall a bit more in the water and that stop it from beating viciously against the hull. We went inside and grabbed our survival equipment. Clearly, we were not sure how long the boat would float.

A French Navy falcon 50 from the Hyères base arrived on the area around 23:30, after refueling in Bordeaux. They coordinated the rescue before being relayed by a maritime patrol aircraft around 6am Monday.

Meanwhile, a rescue by a helicopter, a British Sea King rescue type, was attempted. They had asked us to leave the boat on the liferaft, the only way a diver could pick us up. That's what we did but Damien and I have never managed to get away from the boat. It was very dangerous since the life raft was being throw violently by the waves against the broken bow. Finally, we had to re-board Cheminées Poujoulat leaving on the raft almost all of our water, survival bag , telephone , rockets ... In short, at this point , we have lost a lot of our survival equipment.

Rescuers told us dive and to swim out of the boat for the diver to try to pick us up directly in the water. Unfortunately, that did not work either and was a very bad idea because I had a lot of trouble to get back to the boat again. I was quite shocked with all this situation.

After that we no longer had access to the sail locker where was stored our second life-raft and therefore five were dropped from the plane, but all have fallen too far away from us.

Then the cargo arrived and maneuvered to get alongside us. A rope was thrown at us but we missed it and the operation almost got us crushed against the cargo and in meantime Cheminées Poujoulat continued to sink . The crew threw us a new rope while we were along the cargo and this time, we, standing on the back of the sinking boat were able to catch it and block the remains of our boat against the cargo. The crew then descended a rope but we were banged violently against the hull and could not hold the rope and fall on the water.

With Damien things went better and he did not went far away but I have done 80 meters in the water, sometimes drinking a lot of it until I succeed in grabbing the net they had deployed. Damien swam next to the cargo and they throw him a ring buoy in which he could get in an only then he was able to catch the net and get out of trouble.

It was really super hot because there was a lot of sea and Cheminées Poujoulat, at that time, was almost entirely under water . There was only one small part of the transom sticking to the surface and the bow that was hanging from the shrouds . For me this was a really hard thing to look.

The Filipino crew of the freighter MV Star Isfjord showed an incredible seamanship on the rescue. The Cargo is now bound to the Netherlands, where we should arrive Wednesday evening .

I want to thank to all the men who participated in this major operation . Thank you from my heart ."

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