Yachtsman has to be rescued again

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Less than 36 hours after a dramatic rescue after capsizing in treacherous waters off Cape Horn, French round-the-world yachtsman Jean Le Cam had to be rescued again.

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Le Cam was sailing to Ushuaia in southern Argentina on Wednesday aboard the yacht of fellow-Frenchman Vincent Riou, who rescued him after he was trapped in his upturned hull for hours, when the mast snapped and the engine failed.

The accident left the pair drifting 86 miles southeast of Port Williams in Chile’s far south.

Chile’s navy, which had abandoned an earlier rescue bid for Le Cam on Tuesday after he clambered aboard Riou’s yacht, sent a vessel overnight to rescue the two yachtsmen.

“The yacht which rescued the original yachtsman was sailing to Ushuaia...when the mast broke. There was also a problem with the motor,” a navy spokeswoman said. “It had nothing to do with (Le Cam’s) original accident. What irony.”

A naval official in the southern city of Punta Arenas said the launch carrying Le Cam and Riou had arrived in Puerto Williams on Thursday morning, with the second stricken yacht in tow, and that the pair were both safe and well.

Le Cam and Riou had been competing in the Vendee Globe solo yacht race (

Le Cam had been calling his shore team in France on Monday to inform them he was experiencing serious problems when the conversation was interrupted. He then triggered a distress beacon and was not seen or heard of for hours.

Le Cam’s upturned red and white boat was abandoned around 200 miles west of Cape Horn, where the rough seas and gusty winds had hindered rescue efforts.

A French yachtsman, who fractured his leg while sailing in the same race, was rescued by an Australian frigate in the Indian Ocean last month.

Reporting by Simon Gardner; Editing by John Mehaffey