Quick action taken to get 6 tonnes of water out of Le Cam's trimaran after her encounter with a whale

As Jean Le Cam’s 60ft trimaran Bonduelle hobbled back to France after being badly damaged by a whale earlier this week, Roland Jourdain – ‘Bilou’ – rushed to the rescue of his friend. The photo on the left, taken from Bilou’s Open 60 Sill, shows him keeping close to Bonduelle after two crew were put on board. Le Cam had been sailing alone 300 miles west of Finisterre on his qualifier for the Route du Rhum race in November.

A confused sea made the transfer of helpers and motor driven pumps very difficult. However, it was considered necessary to get them on board as soon as possible as the quantity of water was risking more structural damage. To give an idea of the seriousness of the situation, Bonduelle ordinarily weighs 6 tonnes and Le Cam estimates that there is the same weight again of water in the main hull.

The whale that Le Cam is believed to have hit – or vice versa – collided with the daggerboard, the lowest point of which is 4.5m below the waterline. It stopped the boat dead in the water so the impact on the hull would have been considerable.

Le Cam is not said to be in any danger and is due back at his base in Port la Forêt, Brittany, later today. Bilou will continue towards Brest.