Le Cam boat capsised, second distress signal sent

The boat of Vendée Globe skipper Jean Le Cam (VM Materiaux) was seen capsised and a second distress mayday signal was received from him. Race organizers told a press conference they believe Le Cam is still alive and under the yacht.


AFP - A Chilean air-sea rescue plane has located the overturned boat of Vendee Globe round-the-world yacht race skipper Jean Le Cam near Cape Horn and he is believed to be safe inside, organisers said Tuesday.

The Frenchman, who had been in third place in the gruelling event as the leaders swept into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific after nearly 60 days at sea, had earlier reported "big problems" on board his craft before communications were abruptly cut off.

His boat VM Materiaux was west of Cape Horn off the tip of South America at the time, in high winds.

International sea rescue services were alerted and it was a Chilean rescue plane that found the boat, said the president of the Vendee Regional Council Philippe de Villiers.

"The boat has overturned apparently with its keel or at least a part of its keel intact which means that it has not sunk." he said.

Race director Denis Horeau added that the boat's second distress beacon had been deployed and this indicated it had been done manually by Le Cam to indicate his location to a tanker which was in the region.

Vendee Globe race leader Michel Desjoyeaux rounded Cape Horn early Monday 56 days 14 hours and eight minutes after a 30-strong flotilla left the French Atlantic port of Les Sables d'Olonne on November 9 seeking victory in the most prestigious of ocean-going races.

At that stage only 14 boats were left in the race as the turbulent Southern Ocean has taken a heavy toll on competitors necessitating notably a rescue of another French sailor, Yann Elies, by the Australian navy.

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