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24 February 2024

Rescued French sailor’s boat was uninsured


The partner of a French sailor who was rescued off the coast of Australia after spending three days adrift on a life-raft on Monday said that his boat was not insured.

Armelle Launay-Caillaud said Alain Delord may have escaped with his life but he would be counting the cost of the loss of the vessel, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, which he was forced to abandon after the mast broke and the hull was damaged.

"It's a straight loss because the boat wasn't insured," Launay-Caillaud told AFP. "He's lost 150,000 euros because insurers didn't want to take it on before he left. His boat is his life. It's why he gets up in the morning....

"As well as financial problems, there's a human one: some people die of despair. It's the same for him and his boat. It's part of his life."

Launay-Caillaud spoke to Delord on Sunday and said he told her that he thought death was on the horizon until he was picked up by a cruise ship which changed course to rescue him.

"His number was nearly up. He was staring death in the face. His life-raft flipped over several times," she added.

Launay-Caillaud said Delord had previously lost a mast and seen his boat overturned but had never before been in such an extreme situation.

"He's still a bit shaken up. He's been through the wringer emotionally but he's calming down. He's annoyed as well because he doesn't have any identity papers and has lost his bank card. He's never been in such a situation before," she added.

Delord spent more than 90 days at sea and was due to reach land on Tuesday morning in Hobart, Tasmania, where he will stay for a night before heading to Canberra, Launay-Caillaud added.

Delord, who set off on his voyage in early October, abandoned his yacht Tchouk Tchouk Nougat on Friday after the mast broke and the hull was damaged too far from land for a helicopter to reach him.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) deployed three aircraft to airdrop food, water, communications equipment and a safety suit and had stayed in regular contact with him.