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  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
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The Bond Between Mariners

  • Jan
    07

    1734utc 48/08S 164/39W, 12 knots @ 093T, staysail and 3 reefs in the mainsail, seas down, 25 knots NNW wind, barograph 1023mb. Distance sailed in last 24 hours: 269.8 nautical miles.

    Huge relief at hearing the news of Jean Le Cam's rescue. The whole episode was 200 miles east of where we capsized in 1990, so that  brought back many scary memories, of the dark, the cold, the water, inside the boat. I think that Jean Le Cam showed incredible courage, courage beyond description, to depart the bow compartment. Think of it, he must have had to go down into the cold water, the survival suit wanting to buoy him upward, against the deck, sails in the water, or ropes or stays, could trap him, or tangle him, or hook onto him, he would have had to go down deeper to get past the lifelines and outside the perimeter of the boat to then get back to the stern to hopefully climb on the bottom and hold onto a rudder. He really had no idea what he would find then. He had heard Vincent, but...  Stunning courage, no words to describe... And Vincent, to make 3 passes and on the fourth push it so close to save his friend that he damages his own boat, deck spreader against the keelfin, to do anything for a friend, what skill, what courage he showed himself. Speechless here....

    I remember our own rescue by New Zealand Pacific, the gigantic containership. They came alongside in the middle of the night, seas diminished to 12 meters, wind down to 60 knots, snowing, 5 deg C water, -10 deg C windchill, Captain David Watt put that huge containership right alongside the awash trimaran and we had one chance to jump to a rope ladder hanging down from the pilot door. 2 lines had been thrown by two seaman from the door for us to tie around ourselves. We made it. Much detail left out here, but several days later, one of the men, a young New Zealander, 18 years old,  said quietly in reassurance "You know, if you had come off the ladder, we would have gone in after you", meaning that he and the other seaman, a Tongan named John, they would have dove into the water to get us back. I completely believe him, and it brings tears to my eyes now, as it always does, when I tell that story. The bond between mariners - to go to the aid of a mariner in distress, as Vincent and Armel did for Jean.