Javier Sanso’s first impressions
It all happened so quickly. At around midday yesterday I was sailing upwind in around 20 knots from the NE and had just sent a report to the Race HQ giving my position and how all the energy systems were working well. Suddenly, when on deck and about to let out a reef, there was a sudden bang that made the boat the boat shake and the boat heeled over suddenly, which threw me in the water before I could react. From the water I saw how the boat continued to heel over fast and then roll. I was able to swim up to the transon and activate the life raft, which I got into. I remained in the raft all afternoon and well into the evening. I made the most of the daylight hours to try and dry out my clothes a bit. But due to the strong swell, was unable to tie on to the boat so quickly started to drift away from her.
At 1800 I spotted the Maritime Rescue aircraft that I did signal with a flare. The sighting of the aircraft greatly reassured me and gave me the confidence to know that everything was working and who was managing the emergency properly.
About 2355 I heard again the sound of engines and watched a helicopter maneuvering near the boat, away from my position about two miles. The night was dark and for a moment I doubted that they had sighted me. After lighting my last flare the helicopter headed toward me, a rescue swimmer jumped into the water and I put in a harness for hoisting. In the helicopter a doctor examined me and found that I was in good physical condition.
Now I am at the Lajes Air Base in Terceira, who I have to thank for their hospitality. I really wish to emphasize the heartfelt thanks for the care and hospitality of the Portuguese rescue teams and the treatment I am receiving here at the base. From now on, and after a needed break, it will be a matter of preparing the boat recovery operation with my team to then be able to assess with accuracy what happened.
Firstly I would like to thank ACCIONA, my team, and the race organisation for the speed with which they handled the emergency, and especially the Maritime Rescue Service for the flawless rescue operation and the helicopter operating to the limit of its autonomy. And of course, thank you very much to all those who have followed me and have worried about me last night.