BT activates distress beacon – rescue operation underway in the Transat Jacques Vabre
At approximately 11:00 GMT today, BT crew Sébastien Josse and Jean-François Cuzon have activated their EPIRB distress beacon after having suffered major damage following a night battling it out in fierce seas and winds reaching 60 knots at times. The crew have reported that the coach roof was torn and said the boat was 2 thirds full of water. They have prepared the TPS survival suits and liferaft, and wait for the rescue resources to reach them. MRCC Falmouth confirmed that the RCC Azores have sent a helicopter and a Navy vessel towards BT, whilst emitting a satellite broadcast alert to shipping in the area.
The skippers are in regular contact with Race Director Jean Maurel, and have reported significant damage to the coachroof, and water entering the boat. The MRCC are coordinating operations with the Transat Jacques Vabre Race Direction and the BT shore team, to ensure the safe recovery of the skippers. MRCC Falmouth confirmed that the RCC Azores was had sent a helicopter and a Navy vessel over to BT, whilst carrying out a satellite broadcast alert to shipping in the area. BT is currently 210 miles North of the Azores, 42 10º N – 27 50º W. More here. Discuss here.
The storm-force conditions (55 knots overnight) have inflicted further damage to Artemis Ocean Racing. Sam called the shore team at 1030 GMT this morning to report: “We have lost a mainsail batten (third down from the top) which flew out of the sail, the third reef pin on the boom has gone and our main Iridium handset is broken, either water-logged or from the shock of the boat pounding through the waves.”
None of the damage is terminal but the loss of the mainsail batten will compromise their race performance, and with 75% of the race remaining, Sam and Sidney are considering a pit stop either at the Azores, but that is 300nm upwind, or Madeira 400nm south-west which is a more comfortable course but further from the optimum race route. It has also been confirmed that Veolia Environnment (Roland Joursain and Jean-Luc Nelias) are also heading to the Azores to try and repair damage to their mast track, the same damage incurred by Brit Air in the opening stages of the race that resulted in their retirement. Further news to come once the Artemis skippers and the shore team have considered all options. More.