(Google translate. No time for more from me, I'm afraid)
Bernard Stamm: "I am not a kamikaze"
The voice is still shaky. Bernard Stamm is still in shock. Under the shock of losing his boat, but of course especially under the shock of being brought on board the cargo ship came to rescue them without knowing if his teammate left behind on a sinking ship, would succeed to follow. Bernard Stamm and teammate Damien Guillou went very close to the worst in the night of Monday to Tuesday when their IMOCA 60 broke in two in a storm and they had to board a cargo ship at night in rough seas. Joint Sunday morning, Bernard Stamm returned to his shipwreck for Boating Figaro. It also explains how he ended up in this strong wind and justifies his choice sailor to be out to sea despite the weather announced.
Le Figaro Boating -. How did you wreck?
Bernard Stamm -. Chimneys Poujoulat was about 180 miles from Brest to 200 miles from the southwestern tip of England. The sea was formed, it swept regularly, but had been anticipated on board to deal with this gale we were under storm jib with 4 reefs in the mainsail. Everything was under control: we were wearing our road and looked a bit like a leak in the strong wind. Boat moving at 12-13 knots out of snowboards and behaved very well. I was at the card table with my teammate Damien Guillou when in a wave, we heard a huge crack: the ship had broken in two. It was then about 20:30 Monday night in France.
Then all rushed?
Yes. Damien immediately went on deck shouting "the mast fell," but he immediately saw that this was the boat that was broken. The bow was at 45 degrees to the axis of the boat. I immediately closed the watertight bulkheads so it does not run too fast. Moments later, the mast fell and we raised relief because we had to leave the boat. Help arrived quickly enough area. We were first flown by an aircraft and a helicopter were asked to put a life raft into the water to try to hélitreuiller us. But we never got to the raft away from the boat and had to abandon it with all our safety equipment on board: water, survival tin, telephone Iridium flares to be spotted ... A this time, our situation is really tense. And we did not have access to our second liferaft which was at the bottom of the boat. The aircraft then dropped five rafts above our heads but we never managed to recover one. It was night, we saw nothing and the sea was really bad. A cargo ship that was diverted to provide assistance when we arrived near Poujoulat Chimneys.
To board a cargo ship in a storm at night must be a very dangerous operation?
Yes, it was far from won. The ship maneuvered to get wind Poujoulat Chimneys. Its crew launched after us with their line-throwing but we never managed to see the line in the dark. During the maneuver, we derived and found ourselves at the bow of the ship. There was a disaster. Poujoulat chimneys banged against the bulbous bow of the freighter and began to be seriously damaged. The sailors did not see us the bridge, they did not hear what I was screaming to their VHF. Fortunately, the cargo was loaded and does not get up too in the waves. He could crush us
Our boat started to sink seriously. The ship then made a new maneuver to get our wind and we place closest to his back. This maneuver lasted very long. We asked them to send us a life raft as it was out of the question to board with waves so violent. Be fired on the freighter was a blow to be broken in two.
Finally, they did not hear us and sent a large mooring. I got tied up with Damien and was brutally thrown against the roof of my boat with Damien behind me. He thought it more prudent to detach and I've been shot on board. The crew of the ship fired me for 60 meters. I spent time in the water but I thought only one thing: Damien I had left behind me. I tried not to lose sight of. I saw the light of his headlamp, it was a good sign. Arriving on board, I yelled my teammate had remained on the sinking ship. Sailors seized me and told they were dealing with. They threw a buoy and is fired. It went better for him, he spent less time under water and quickly found himself on board. From this experience, what impressed me most is the fear of losing Damien.
Was it reasonable to sail in such a sea ferry?
It is sure that there was a lot of wind but we went knowingly. We first made a northern route on port tack at the start of the Azores and have jibe on Sunday morning at 22 to the west and sail to Brest. Throughout this phase we sailed slowly to 60% polar (target boat speed ed) to let the worst of the storm ahead. On Sunday, the wind is strong enough back then he eased to 35-37 knots with even a short time at 27 knots. We had a clear outline of the situation and what was coming behind.
We knew we would have three or four hours of very strong but these boats are made for that wind. We had 45 knots and 50 regular (90 km / h). Are not prepared for round the world sailing by 15 knots of wind in Britain. Shortly before the accident, we never felt the need to slouch all, which is a possibility in excessive conditions. The boat behaved well. The front had passed and we were in the depression dug in front.
The big wind was before. It is important that people understand that we do not have 75 nodes they had in their garden in Britain. When we broke, we still had an hour before the strong wind wind mollisse. Later, the wind is strong left at rescue but we never had to find ourselves in if we continued on our way.
I have a reputation of head burned, it sticks to my skin but it's not that at all. I am not a suicide bomber. We do things thoughtfully. The problem is this boat, which is expected to face rough seas, which broke in two. It was dark and I was in the cabin. But one thing is certain: while sailing under speed come we did, Chimneys Poujoulat could not bake a lot, that's what is amazing. When you attack as "nags" race, then yes it shoves and pulls on our boats. But there, we sailed completely safe and the boat was little used. It is incomprehensible.
How do you see the future?
For now, the future is written in the short term for me. I have arrived to ask me to understand why my boat broke in two like that. The same accident in the Great South the Vendée Globe, it's a potential death. It is necessary that we understand and only then can think of more.