Back in the safe harbour

It was not a moment to celebrate, but a moment to fall into each other’s arms in relief. At 12.30 local time on Saturday 13 May, the GUYOT environnement – Team Europe reached Halifax in Canada – under jury rig, four and a half days after the accident in the North Atlantic. The Shore crew awaited the team with skipper Benjamin Dutreux, Robert Stanjek, Annie Lush, Sébastien Simon and onboard reporter Gauthier Lebec to comfort them and satisfy their first hunger with huge pizzas and cookies.

On 9 May, at around 2.30 a.m., the yacht had lost its mast in a heavy storm and rough seas, forcing it to abandon the fourth leg of The Ocean Race 600 nautical miles from the finish port of Newport/USA. Fortunately, the crew remained uninjured and secured the yacht by detaching large parts of the snapped rig and some sails. A day later, when the weather had calmed down, an jury rig could be set. The storm jib and a small remaining part of the mainsail, set like a gaff sail, provided light propulsion.

Wind and current as well as the shortest way ashore set the direction for GUYOT environnement – Team Europe. It was off to Halifax in Canada. But the odyssey was not over yet: the team ran out of fuel. But keeping the engine running was important to keep the instruments running and also to keep the cruising speed from dropping too low. The commercial shipping was radioed, and sure enough, a cargo ship stopped its journey and transferred about 150 litres of diesel to the yacht via canister. So it was possible to reach Halifax after four and a half days at a speed of three to four knots.

The relief could be seen on everyone’s face when they fell into each other’s arms: the crew and the shore team. After the entry formalities had been completed, the yacht was now being stripped. Beforehand, the crew had already started cleaning and tidying up the yacht at sea. After the craning out, an examination of the hull followed and then a plan can be made if and how a re-entry into the race is possible. In any case, a transport by cargo ship of the yacht to Europe is necessary.

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