On December 1st, 2020, the Vendèe Globe non-stop regatta saw a dramatic scene that you would otherwise only expect in a film. A participant’s yacht broke in the high waves. Eight hours other participants, including Boris Herrmann, searched for the victim in high waves and strong winds.
Fortunately, on the night of December 2nd, 2020 the redeeming news came that the victim had been rescued and is well.
Unfortunately, the victim did not have an AIS rescue transmitter on his personal equipment, as it has been used by responsible water sports enthusiasts, navies and maritime authorities for a long time. For this reason, other Vendée participants were quickly assigned search sectors in order to find and rescue the victim. The search sectors were very close-knit, with only 600 meters between the passages. Searching a zone would have taken a total of up to 20 hours. According to Boris Herrmann, it was the, luckily successful, search for a needle in a haystack. But everyone involved is aware that this disaster could have ended differently.
Modern distress rescue transmitters transmit GPS position including drift course and drift speed of an accident victim
– At any time of day, in any weather and in any swell!
The 8-hour-search would not have been necessary with a modern emergency rescue transmitter, as the GPS position including the drift course and drift speed of the victim would have been clearly visible on the chart plotters of the surrounding ships. Rescue transmitters such as the easyRESCUE-PRO3 from Weatherdock use not only AIS but also DSC and 121.5 Mhz bearing signals and can be displayed with coordinates on the chart plotter by all ships and boats and located directly by aircrafts without searching. Boris Herrmann also relied on our easyRESCUE rescue transmitter for years.
The ultimate rescuer would have had the exact GPS position a few minutes after the accident on the chart plotter of the “Yes we Cam” and could have targeted and saved the victim. The rescue operation would have taken only a fraction of the time despite the difficult conditions.
This event clearly shows that even the most experienced sailor is not protected from an accident and, in our opinion, a modern rescue transmitter is essential for every sailor. We therefore appeal to common sense to equip yourself with a modern rescue transmitter. This can save lives in an emergency.
We wish all participants of the Vendèe Globe Regatta every success for the rest of the event and hope that there will be no further disaster.