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Yvan Bourgnon’s shipwreck

Published on 04 november 2014 at 9h00

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To succeed in this feat, he had asked Sebastian Schmidt (the designer of the Decision 35 and the SwissCat catamarans) to design him a 6.2-metre open catamaran. The particularly light boat – 450kg unladen – was then built, during the summer of 2013. The structure, made up of two hulls and crossbeams, was designed to be indestructible enough to bring the sailors back safe and sound, whatever happened. Because at the start of this adventure, there were two of them: Yvan and Vincent Beauvarlet. And for this crew of adventurers, the accommodation was very simple: exterior benches to sit and sleep on, that's all! And to make things tougher, the sailors chose to navigate ‘in the old fashioned way’. Neither GPS nor electronics aboard; a simple sextant would suffice.
Vincent abandoned in the Canaries, and Yvan decided to continue his adventure singlehanded. An Atlantic crossing from the Canaries to Martinique, then Panama, the Galapagos, and finally the Pacific, arriving in the Marquesas at the end of March, after 25 days at sea... The next part was a dream, with stopovers in Tahiti, Bora Bora, Pago Pago in American Samoa, then Fiji, Vanuatu and finally Bali...
On July 12th, Yvan therefore left Bali to cross 2,700 miles of the Indian Ocean, heading for the Maldives. For the first few days, the conditions were good (15 – 20 knots, sunshine, downwind), but they rapidly deteriorated, and the catamaran suffered. When a shroud broke, Yvan had to make a temporary repair, then the monsoon began, making this long crossing complicated, until he crossed the equator and returned to the northern hemisphere (after 5 months sailing exclusively in the southern hemisphere) on 28th July. The conditions then became tougher and tougher – winds blowing at 70km/h and at least 4 metre waves. Fearing damage to his sport catamaran rather than capsizing, Yvan finally decided to go to Sri Lanka, to stay on the right tack and not take any risks with his temporary shroud and the single remaining rudder.
As he approached the port of Galle, in Sri Lanka, where he planned to stop, Yvan activated the autopilot, so he could sleep for a few minutes, with the boat heading out to sea. When he woke up, he was in the middle of enormous breakers and was thrown out of his boat, which was then literally pulverized on the rocks.
It was a miracle that he was unharmed. However, despite the destruction of his boat, he is not abandoning his project: he intends to repair his boat and set off again at the end of the year to continue the adventure: “I only have 5,000 miles left to cover, in protected waters (Red Sea and Mediterranean), before crossing the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne, so I think the hardest part is behind me...”

The video of his shipwreck and the next part of Yvan Bourgnon’s adventures on:
ledefidyvanbourgnon.com or www.multihulls-world.com

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