Losing your boat is one of the worst things that can ever happen and yesterday my heart went out to Fabrice Amedeo (Nexans – Art & Fenêtres) and this team, as he was forced to abandon his IMOCA following a fire and explosion onboard.
On Sunday Fabrice announced he would be heading into Cascais for repairs after one of his ballast tanks ruptured, flooding the inside of his boat with hundreds of litres of water, and subsequently causing an electrical failure onboard. Since that point, he has reported two fires – one on Sunday afternoon and another yesterday afternoon. It was yesterday’s fire that quickly got out of control, causing an explosion and filling the cabin with smoke. Fabrice describes being surrounded by flames as he tried to launch the liferaft from the back of the boat.
To make the situation even scarier, his IMOCA was still sailing while he boarded the liferaft, meaning he was being dragged along behind his flaming boat – he told himself that if he wanted to live, he needed to find a knife and cut himself loose. As he drifted away from his IMOCA, Fabrice says he watched on fire for around 30 minutes before it sank.
The Portuguese Coastguard coordinated a rescue, and after spending four hours in the liferaft a passing cargo vessel recovered him and will take him to safety in the Azores.
It must have been a terrible ordeal for Fabrice, a situation none of us expects to be in. I hope once he gets back on dry land, and has the time to assess what has happened, he will push forward and continue his Vendée Globe campaign. He may have lost his boat, but he is alive.