Eye witness reports from the shore adjacent to where Mirabella V is stranded say there are alarming cracking noises coming from the rig or keel

At 1715 this afternoon Mirabella V was still firmly aground on a leeshore in the South of France with an eye witness reporting that another tow line has just parted and that alarming cracking noises were emanating from either the 283ft carbon rig or 150-ton lifting keel or possibly both.

Ex Yachting World reporter Tim Thomas who is standing on the shoreline adjacent to where Mirabella continues to pound up and down in winds of around 15 knots told the magazine’s head office in London: “There are lots of loud cracks coming from either the rig or the keel. The mast also looks as though it is twisting quite a bit.” He reported that a second tow line had parted when Roman Abramovich’s motor yacht Ecstasea had managed to haul Mirabella round by the stern, aided by the yacht’s twin engines. “Now a crew man seems to be in the water and is trying to attach a line to a rock. The stern of Mirabella is now about 20 metres from the rocks,” said Tim. He reported that the wind had eased to about 15 knots but Mirabella was still bouncing up and down on the bottom.

Jacqui Beadon the yacht’s charter manager said: “There is a tug on its way and we hope to get her off later this evening. I have only been able to have a short conversation with the captain Johnno Johnston, but there is no water in the yacht.” Johnston only recently took command of the US$15 million yacht but is highly experienced. The composite-hulled Mirabella reportedly dragged anchor in the incident which is currently threatening her. Her 150-ton lift keel has already had problems in trials but it is unclear at the moment whether the hydraulics which lift it are working properly. Draught with the keel down is 32ft 10in and 12ft 8in with it up.