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France Sailing Rescue

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French navigator rescued after boat suffers heavy damage

This handout pictured shows French sailor Kito de Pavant aboard his sinking yacht Bastide-Otio. KITO DE PAVANT/VENDEE GLOBE /AFP

French navigator Kito de Pavant, captain of the boat Bastide-Otio was successfully rescued from his stricken yacht on Wednesday morning, while competing in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world event.

De Pavant’s boat suffered damage to its keel in the southern Indian Ocean.

The 55-year-old was recovered by the supply ship Marion Dufresne II which was cruising 110 miles from the site of the incident. 

The boat arrived in the area on Tuesday evening but had to wait until dawn on the spot to start the rescue.

Engine compartment flooded

On Tuesday morning, an unidentified floating object caused keel damage on Bastide-Otio, causing the engine compartment to be flooded.

De Pavant, who was placed 10th in the race, said his boat had suffered very serious damage that was impossible to repair and potentially dangerous for his safety.

The yacthsman considered himself lucky to be rescued.

“The Marion Dufresne was in the area and that only happens four times a year," he pointed out. "It was hard leaving my boat and abandoning her in the middle of nowhere and it’s really upsetting losing my boat. But that was the only solution.”