21 Jan 2013

French yachtsman rescued from liferaft

12:25 am on 21 January 2013

A French solo sailor who was adrift in a liferaft for three days has been rescued by a cruise ship.

The man was forced to abandon his yacht 500 nautical miles off south-west Tasmania after it lost its mast and suffered hull damage in rough seas on Friday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says it understands Alain Delord is being taken to Hobart on the cruise ship Orion.

The Southern Ocean cruise ship battled 20 knot winds and a three-metre swell to reach the French sailor around midnight Sunday.

Mr Delord set off a distress beacon on Friday after the mast on his 11-metre yacht broke in rough weather.

The 63-year-old was attempting a solo around-the-world voyage, but abandoned ship and took to his life raft.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority dropped food and water to Mr Delord and maintained communication through an interpreter.

The Orion made a 50-hour diversion to come to the Frenchman's aid

A Mandarin translator from New Zealand flew to Australia on Saturday to try contacting nearby fishing boats - but ultimately was not needed.