An 60–foot round the world French racing yacht is berthed in Crookhaven Bay in County Cork this morning having been abandoned mid–Atlantic three weeks ago and brought to the Irish harbour by a recovery team that included Kinsale's Marcus Hutchinson.
Since Paul Meilhat was airlifted off SMA on 15th December, during the transatlantic Race in which Ireland's Enda O'Coineen finished third, the 60-footer has drifted up from the Azores to Ireland over the past twenty days, during which the SMA team has attempted several recovery operations, in spite of some horrendous weather.
On 5th January, the boat was finally recovered 100 miles off the coast of Ireland. SMA is now safe in Crookhaven Bay in SW Ireland. On board, the boat captain, Marc Liardet and his team are trying to sort the boat out. Their goal is to get her back to France and to Port La Forêt as soon as the weather allows.
In early January, two operations were set up at the same time with Mer Agitee, the owner of the monohull and the boat's insurers, Pantaenius. On 4th January, on a boat was chartered by the insurance company with the ocean racer, Adrien Hardy on board. He managed to get aboard SMA, in some very rough conditions in 40 knots of wind and 20-foot high waves, while the Mer Agitee shorte team joined in aboard an Irish tug.
As the Mer Agitee predicted, after following the progress of SMA thanks to her Argos beacon, following on from the operation to rescue Paul Meilhat, the mast was still in place.
The recovery team in Ireland:
Marcus Hutchinson, Marc Liardet, Anne Liardet, Antoine Brunel and Damien Guillou.