Transcription of the Press Conference concerning injury to Yann Eliès (Generali).
Denis Horeau, Race Director of the Vendée Globe:
“ At 10.15 this morning Erwan Steff called me to say that Yann had broken his leg and was making a request for rescue and that immediate intervention was necessary involving getting him off the boat.
“ Obviously we immediately contacted MRCC Reunion and our safety consultant in Australia David Adam who then called MRCC Camnbera who are responsible for the zone in which Generali was sailing.”
“ So by 1040 everyone was in the loop. At 1055hrs we could see on our screens that the boat was not moving.”
“ Erwan informed us that Yann had fallen on the deck and so we immediately had made contact with Dr Jean Yves Chauve who got in touch with Yann. And we asked Dr Chauve to let us know immediately what state Yann was in. At 1120hrs we took the decision to request two boats to make a course to Yann’s position, that is to say who would have to go to the north, with a SW’y wind. He had 100 miles to go to the north, although with a cross sea, and Marc will be at Yann’s position this evening. Vincent Riou also offered to divert, but the meteo conditions were not really favourable as he would have to go upwind. It was not the best thing to do. Armel Le Cléac’h, via his brother also offered, but he was even further away.
“ We also contacted Sam Davies who is 600 miles to the west of the postion of General to start making her way towards the position of Generali and it will take Sam about 40 hours to reach Sam Davies 40 hours to reach Yann’s position.”
“So the job of these two skippers is mostly psychological support, that is to say that Yann knows that two fellow skippers are close by, and if absolutely necessary, and I emphasise absolutely necessary, we can count on their assistance.”
“So MRCC Canberra have launched an alert. They have detailed a Frigate to be ready to leave this evening, at around about 2000hrs. The boat is called HMAS Arunta, she is 180m long and can make 30 knots. So depending on the weather conditions and sea state, the ship will take about two days to reach Generali’s position.”
“We are waiting to know whether or not a helicopter is embarked aboard the frigate. We don’t know at the moment. In the coming hours we shall more information on the exact departure time of the boat, and further information about its capabilities.”
“For my part I should say that the Australians are capable of exceptional work, they are rescue experts, as several Vendée sailors can attest. At the moment Generali, Yann Eliès’ boat, is 800 miles from the coast of Australia, he is on port tack, and making very slow progress to the north.
Erwan Steff, Logistics and administration manager Team Generali
“ At about 1000hrs tthis morning Yann contacted me to say that he needed help, he is in a bad way. A sudden jolt when he was on the foredeck stopped the boat very suddenly, he was thrown to the deck, and he has broken his left leg. He crawled back inside the boat to be safe and there he called us, his team, to request immediate assistance. He consulted the doctor. The doctor diagnosed a fracture of the femur and said he should not move. At the moment he is safe in his bunk, he is following the advice of the doctor and staying warm, eating and take painkillers. He has a sail configuration which allows him to stay like that, he has three reefs in the main and small staysail set. He is just waiting for the psychological support that Marc Guillemot’s arrival will give him. For our part we are in permanent contact to know how things are going, to keep his spirits up and so he knows that other sailors, his mates are on their way.”
Marie-Christine Lanne, Communciactions Director, Generali France.
“ We were privileged 20 years ago to be involved with the first Vendée Globe, that is to say in Alain Gautier’s era. We have been sponsors of sailing for 34 years and supported Yann now for ten years and so it is very emotional for us to know that he is in these difficulties. We are working very closely with the Vendée Globe race direction to make sure that help is brought to him as quickly as possible and we are following everything very closely. Everyone we work with is mobilised as well and being kept as up to date as possible so they can keep him in their thoughts. Yann is a very talented and responsible sailor and the important thing is we see him back as quickly as possible, safe and sound.”
Answers to Questions
Is there a chance of the sailors going on boars Generali?
Erwan Steff: For the moment we are not looking at anything else other than emotional support. The sea conditions are pretty difficult. We are lucky that Yann happens to be following a pretty favourable course but at the moment there is absolutely no boarding envisaged. But it is important that he knows that his friends are there.
What medication has he taken?
Erwan Steff: He has not taken any medication yet, all that he has been able to do is crawl back inside the boat and get into his bunk in front of the nav station close to his iridium phone, but he has not been able to open his medical kit, but to even pick up the phone is an effort, and the boat’s movement is painful for him. The doctor’s advice is that he conserves his energy for the next 30 hours because he is in a lot of pain.
Erwan Steff, The medical kit is at most two metres from him, I do not know what side of the boat it is on, but Yann is in the middle of the boat at his nav station.”
Dr Jean Yves Chauve, Official Race Doctor for the Vendée Globe:
“ For the moment he is in his bunk but he is in a lot of pain but at least he is a little more comfortable now. From what he described in terms of the deformation it was pretty clear that he has a fracture of his left leg.”
“ The biggest risk is if there is a displacement so that he has to do everything possible to avoid movement. He has morphine on board, probably enough for three days.”