A French sailor in his 60s managed to survive against all odds inside a sailing yacht that overturned overnight Monday off the coast of Galicia, Spain. He was able to breathe from an air pocket until Spanish rescue divers found him the following afternoon.
The Class 40 sailing yacht Jeanne Solo Sailor capsized on Monday at around 2000 hours in a location about 14 miles to the northwest of the Sisargas Islands, west of A Corua. The boat capsized in barely 15 seconds, according to the lone occupant, 62-year-old French national Laurent Camprubi. He was able to trigger his EPIRB, but he was stranded inside the boat in rough seas with just “30 to 40 centimeters of air” to breathe.
That evening, a rescue helicopter found the hull of the capsized yacht and directed a reaction boat carrying Salvamento Maritimo divers to the area. A diver contacted the hull of Camprubi, but the waters were too rough for a rescue. They decided to wait until dawn and better weather, and they attached float bags to the hull to prevent it from sinking.
On Tuesday, at about noon, the weather improved and the divers were able to enter the yacht and reach Camprubi. He was successfully rescued, and a helicopter took him to Alvedro’s beach for a medical checkup.
“The situation was difficult because I was holding on, crouched, with half my body out of the water so as not to be too cold. I had to resist. My fear was thinking that they would not come get [me],” he told Heraldo. “When they came in the morning, I knew they were going to get it. They did a fantastic job, just fantastic.”
“Cada vida salvada es nuestra mayor recompensa”
Así fue el rescate realizado ayer por Salvamento Marítimo al tripulante del velero francés JEANNE SOLO SAILOR que estaba quilla al sol a 14 millas NNW de Islas Sisargas. pic.twitter.com/gqobWTSoWc
— SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO (@salvamentogob) August 3, 2022
Camprubi, an experienced ocean racing skipper with multiple transatlantic crossings to his credit, told Spanish outlet Heraldo that he plans to stick to calmer waters from here out.