24 December 2013 - 12:30 • 2272 views



Bernard Stamm, who was bringing his boat home after the Transat Jacques Vabre, triggered his distress beacon yesterday evening, while sailing around 180 miles from Brest. Rescue operations were put in place in order to recover the sailor and his crewman Damien Guillou. Both sailors were rescued and are currently aboard a Norwegian container ship heading for Rotterdam. They are in good health, but Cheminées Poujoulat has sunk. An incredible rescue in horrendous conditions.

During the night of 23rd-24th December at around 2200hrs, the French Maritime Rescue Centre (Cap Gris Nez ) was alerted by the British authorities that the Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm and his crewman Damien Guillou aboard the French registered boat Cheminées Poujoulat were in difficulty off the Scillies. The dismasted boat was in British waters around 200 miles from the tip of Cornwall and 180 miles from Brest. A Falcon 50 reconnaissance craft based in Hyères took part in the rescue after searching for a sailor lost overboard from a commercial vessel during the evening and refuelling in Bordeaux.

The Falcon 50 reached the area at 2326hrs and immediately began looking for the boat finally establishing contact, and then remaining in contact until replaced by a ATL2 marine patrol aircraft at 0515hrs on 24th December.

The weather conditions were particularly horrendous (35-knot winds and heavy seas). An attempt to lift off the two sailors by the Sea King helicopter from Culdrose in Cornwall had to be abandoned during the night. The British maritime coordination centre in Falmouth called upon the Norwegian-registered MV STAR ISFJORD to make her way towards the boat.

Taking advantage of improving conditions this morning at around 0730hrs, the cargo vessel managed to recover the skipper and his crewman using a boarding ladder. The cargo vessel is now on her way to the port of Rotterdam, where she will drop off Bernard Stamm and Damien Guillou. The 60-foot Cheminées Poujoulat was abandoned and is said to have sunk.