All safe as the trimaran is towed to the Portuguese port of Cascais

Ellen MacArthur, Alain Gautier and three crew on the 60ft trimaran Foncia were rescued from the upturned boat yesterday when a tug finally reached them from the Portuguese port of Cascais. The crew had been sheltering in the capsized trimaran following her capsize on Tuesday.

Foncia has been towed to Cascais and all the crew are safely ashore. The rescue bid was assisted by Ricardo Diniz, a Portuguese single-handed sailor who was able to make local arrangements.

Meanwhile, Alain Gautier has been explaining more about the circumstances of the capsize, which appears not to have been caused by pitchpoling, as was previously understood. The explanation in translation is a little confusing, but here’s how he recounted it:

“We were under gennaker and full mainsail in 25 knots of wind. The sea was a bit messy but nothing unusual for the area. We hit something with the downwind float and the rudder came out of its housing. I was at the helm and Loick (Gallon), who was trimming, put the gennaker sheet on the winch so he could see if could see anything downwind. The boat became hard to helm and a wave lifted us up from behind.

“As a result the rudder of the central hull was out of the water and the boat started to bear away. Foncia then found itself sideways on (to the waves) and then capsized sideways over to the left (contrary to earlier reports of capsizing forwards). The boat stayed upright for a certain time. Loick had the time to get back into the cockpit and I waited for the boat to turn over to jump in the water so that I didn’t have too far to fall. I stayed under the water and then I surfaced at the rear of the boat.”