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Troubled Le Cam saved by fellow yachtsman

Vendée Globe contender Vincent Riou has rescued fellow yachtsman Jean Le Cam, who was stuck beneath his overturned boat west of Cape Horn Monday night.

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AFP - Solo round-the-world yachtsman Jean Le Cam was rescued on Tuesday by compatriot and fellow racer Vincent Riou the Vendee Globe race organisers announced.

Le Cam had been in third in the gruelling race, one position ahead of Riou, when his boat VM Materiaux dramatically overturned in high winds west of Cape Horn off the tip of South America.

The Vendee Globe sailor signalled he was in difficulty overnight and after being located by a Chilean maritime rescue airplane the Frenchman, who finished second in the race four years ago, was given further hope when he was joined later in the day by Riou.

Riou, who had been behind Le Cam in the gruelling solo round the world race after 60 days at sea, made a diversion to join his fellow Frenchman.

According to the organisers Riou made four attempts to get alongside Le Cam so his rival could board his yacht PRB.

"Jean Le Cam succeeded in getting off his boat on his own," said race director Denis Horeau.

"Vincent Riou made four attempts to rescue Jean Le Cam. On the fourth occasion he succeeded and Le Cam was able to board PRB."

Horeau said both skippers were safe and sound, though PRB had been slightly damaged in the daring rescue.

Le Cam had reported "big problems" on board his craft in the early hours of Tuesday morning before communications were abruptly cut off.

A Chilean air-sea rescue plane then located Le Cam's boat near Cape Horn, prompting the Chilean authorities to launch a rescue boat equipped with divers and equipment to rescue the stricken vessel.

Riou, according to organisers, indicated that the anticipated rescue of Le Cam could be risky. The rear section of his boat, from which he would normally emerge in such an event, is submerged.

Vendee Globe race leader Michel Desjoyeaux rounded Cape Horn early on 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 had taken a heavy toll on competitors necessitating notably a rescue of another French sailor, Yann Elies, by the Australian navy.

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