Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cape Town...

Strange circumstances ... Whilst the Barcelona World Race was announcing that the monohull Veolia Environnement had dismasted, the monohull DELTA DORE was mooring in the Cape town's marina in South Africa. It was at 9 h 20 French time on this Tuesday morning that the monohull DELTA DORE was welcomed after having been towed for two days and a half days in the Indian Ocean by the Ocean 7 catamaran. The rescue and towage, organised a few hours after the monohull dismasted on Tuesday the 11th of December by 47 degrees South, became a success thanks to an experienced and efficient Franco – South African team. The rescue operation is a great achievement considering the dangers that can be met in the Indian Ocean.
Since a few days, the rumours have been growing in Cape Town. Why did the Ocean 7 catamaran go to sea with its crew reinforced with the presence of the rescue station's Commander on board? Why is it daring to go below a latitude of 40 degrees South, into the roaring forties? Nobody adventures into those feared parts of the world. Yet this time it was to rescue the French dismasted monohull DELTA DORE. The Captain, David de Villiers, and his associate Bruce Tedder, exceptionally accepted the rescue operation considering that that it had been well prepared by DELTA DORE's sail team; and that the weather forecasts were fair despite a depression announced in the zone and whilst the boat was on tow.
Four days after dismasting, Ocean 7 met Jérémie Beyou and Sidney Gavignet. In less than one hour their monohull was roped up and being towed at a speed of 12 knots in a sea sometimes described as chaotic. It only took them 2 and half days to cover the 750 miles on tow.
At 10h20 French time on this Tuesday morning, the Imoca 60 monohull DELTA DORE entered the port of Cape Town and went past the Wing bridge and the blue tilting gates before arriving in the V&A Marina. They were escorted by the Rescue station's boat "NSRI Sea Rescue" that had sailed out to welcome DELTA DORE and it's two skippers. Other leisure boats also had equally sailed out to welcome them.
The team in the V&A Marina welcomed the monohull before mooring her next to Estrella Damm and PRB. The city of Cape Town welcomed DELTA DORE in the best of ways. It was a sunny day, very bright and hot, lightly refreshed by a southeasterly breeze. A lot of reporters from the press and television as well as spectators massed along the quayside for to welcome DELTA DORE.
For the Ocean 7 catamaran that did the towing, it was an exceptional mission. It was the first time it's Captain accepted to go under latitude of 40 degrees South for such a rescue operation. If it appeared to be a lovely summer's day in Cape Town you mustn't forget that the Indian Ocean surrounding it is feared. It's Alghuas current that lifts the sea against the wind and its frequent depressions can transform it into a hostile and dangerous place.