Capsized sailor stays with his $20 million boat

Published online: Aug 26, 2011 News Trade Only Today
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A French sailor refused to leave his $20 million sailboat after it capsized and spent 36 hours in the rough waters off Long Island, N.Y., until a tow arrived.

Francis Joyon, a professional yachtsman, cast off from a marina in Brooklyn on Sunday evening, hoping to set a new record for the fastest-ever solo sail to England, the New York Post reported.

Joyon, 55, had been waiting for weeks for the right weather to try to beat the record of five days, 19 hours, 30 minutes.

But he did not get farther than about 70 miles off Long Island.

Fewer than 12 hours into his trip, Joyon encountered "wind [that] was so strong, it just capsized [the boat] in one second," he told the newspaper. "It was so brutal that it blew me out of the cockpit and I found myself underneath the nets" that connect its two pontoons to the central hull.

Joyon managed to crawl into the cabin through an escape hatch, grab a satellite phone and make a call for help - to France - because his signals were directed to a rescue center there.

The French called the U.S. Coast Guard, which dispatched a patrol boat. It arrived about two hours later and the crew offered to take him aboard.

Instead, Joyon stayed in his upside-down cabin until a tug arrived at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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