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Sail. Maël Garnier’s big nocturnal fright on the Solo Maître Coq: “I almost stayed there…” – Sailing

Solo Master Rooster in Les Sables d’Olonne

What happened in the night from Friday to Saturday?

Already, the day before in the inshore race on Wednesday, I tore my spinnaker, so I gave up. For the big race, Philippe Hartz (Editor’s note: another Figaro engaged in the Solo Maître Coq) lends me a large spinnaker. I’m off to a pretty good start and last night, it was attacking quite a bit: there were 25-30 knots, 2 to 3 meters of swell, I was fine, I got back into the right pack at the level of the Rochebonne plateau. . And there, around 4:30 am, I hoisted the main spinnaker, I had a reef in the mainsail, something you rarely do in a Figaro 3. Just after hoisting, I made a small bulk . I restore the spinnaker, it slams and bursts. As the spinnaker had just exploded, I went full ass to try to pick up all the bits that were under the boat. I had a sheet in the foil, the tack in the underbar and under the boat. All of this was making me drift and I couldn’t get the boat going again. There was so much wind and sea that the boat was going 12 knots if I stayed full ass.

The gennaker suffered… (Photo Vincent Olivaud)

What have you done ?

The boat remained lying for 30 minutes with a sheet that had gone around a rudder: it was stuck from home, so the autopilot was no longer managing anything, I couldn’t put the boat back on the flat, I couldn’t was more maneuverable. And above all, in the bulk, my genoa burst. There, it’s a disaster because it’s doing tricks in the forestay, the ends of the spinnaker get tangled up and do tricks everywhere. Finally, I manage to recover a lot of bits. At one point, I went to the front of the boat. And there, luckily I had my long, that I was attached short to the boat…

… you fell in the water?

Yes, I fell in the water, I was in the water but tied to the boat with my lanyard. I was standing at the candlesticks. There was still a lot of sea, I struggled to get back on the boat because I had no more strength. It was a little tense… Fortunately, I had water to run.

How long were you in the water?

At the bow, it didn’t last long, about thirty seconds, the time I managed to come back up, but I was stuck with my vest to get through the lifelines. There, you ask yourself questions, do you have to cut? The boat was moving forward a bit so I didn’t want it to pick me up while I was in the water. In short, you ask yourself a lot of questions in a very short time. In total, all this mess lasted a good hour.

At night, in water at 9°, we imagine that you were very cold…

Ah yes, I was cold, with a little hypothermia on the way. With the fatigue, the emotion, it took me time to warm up in my boat.

On Twitter, you say: “I almost stayed there, I was never scared like that, the time to see my life go by several times”

I had the impression that I was not going to be able to get back on the boat. I was attached, but it’s scary! Afterwards, I had to go take care of the rudder, downwind, to remove the spinnaker sheet which was caught in it: I was in the water with my oilskin, at night, in the sea, with waves beating behind, I couldn’t see anything… With the mainsail sheet beating on me, it freaks you out.

Maël Garnier will remember this night from March 17 to 18, 2023 for a long time.
Maël Garnier will remember this night from March 17 to 18, 2023 for a long time. (Photo Vincent Olivaud)

Do you feel like you had the right reflexes at the right time?

I feel like I did the right thing. Afterwards, maybe we should have sent the small spinnaker and not the big one, but I couldn’t think that the big spinnaker was going to explode like that. And 25-30 knots, it still does, especially since I had a reef in the mainsail. We do worse in Figaro. And above all, I was in good shape, I had slept, I had eaten, I was fine. It was hard but I was prepared for it, I was where I wanted to be.

After a fall, they say you have to get back on horseback: are you ready to go sailing again tomorrow?

Yes, there is no problem. Okay, I’m going to take a moment to settle down and leave.

If you had to remember one thing from this nightmarish night?

At night, in these conditions, it’s complicated to communicate on the VHF: no one picks up too much when you’re in action. If, one day, something happens, no one will come looking for us so we have to be in control of our stuff. Alone, you have to attach yourself, not play with safety because a small thing can quickly become a big disaster. There, I was lucky, I didn’t have a pebble nearby. If that had been the case, I would have cut everything but there, the idea was still to collect all the moreaux, not to pollute the ocean.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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