British sailor Ross Hobson talks for the first time about the dramatic rescue from his boat last night 8/11/06

British sailor Ross Hobson talks for the first time about last night’s dramatic rescue from his boat last night 8/11/06

How are you?
I am OK, I feel very upset about having lost the boat. But I am safe, that’s the main thing

Describe the conditions you had yesterday and what happened?
It was blowing about 40 to 45 knots, I just dropped the mainsail and I was under the storm staysail when a very big gust caught me on the foredeck. I was trying to get in the cockpit to release the staysail when the gust turned the boat on me, just a slow capsize over the bow.

What was your reaction at the moment the boat capsized?
I guess I was netting around onto the hull upside down, opened up the safety hatch and cramped inside and then activated the safety EPIRB. And basically settled down to wait. Unfortunately, the satellite phone got wet and at the same time I destroyed the satellite phone back up, so I was not able to ring anybody to let them know that I was safe

How did things unfolded for your rescue ?
Race Committee and US coastguard diverted the vessell Carmen to come and collect me. Their seamanship was fantastic because there were a 4-5 meters sea running with big winds. The skipper was able to come alongside and I stepped onto the pilot ladder. It was very easy. I have great respect for the skipper of the ship, his boat handling was superb. I am very very thanksfull to them.

Will you try to get the boat back or is she is definitely lost at sea?
I think she is definitely lost at sea. She’s just too far away from land to try to do a rescue of her. She’s probably in recoverable conditions but just too far away for anyone to make it worthwile going to get her, unfortunately

You were trying to make things safer when it happened ?
Yeah. I was trying to reduce the sails to get down to absolute storm conditions because the gusts were getting bigger. We received a couple of gusts at 55 knots. When we just got caught by the gust I was ready for it

Apart from being upset what is your mood at the moment?
Disappointed, because I was doing well. I and got back in the lead in front of Pierre (Pierre Antoine / Imagine) and I worked so hard to get there, and just got into the wind system to out in front of the severe weather before heading south and hopefully on to the finish

Were you aware about how bad the conditions were likely to get?
We were aware that it was going to be blowing up to 40 – 45 knots, I haven’t spoken with my weather router, but we didn’t expect anything over 45 knots. In fact it was blowing well over 50. It was a very big surprise