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David Paul on the dock

Published on 27/08/2021

After his unfortunate misadventure, getting trapped in a big piece of discarded fishing net and ropes on the upwind back to Lorient, English rookie skipper David Paul (Just a drop) arrived into Lorient during the middle of last night.

As he has had to retire because he received outside assistance from L’Express, the race guard boat, he scores the same elapsed time as the last skipper to cross the line plus 2 hours. This is what the good humoured skipper had to say, “The first leg of La Solitaire was actually going really well especially on the downwind to Spain in a nice group of four with Pep, Mal Ganier and Jesse had come in from a different angle so we did not see him until we started to go upwind. I think we were 70 or 80 miles into the upwind on the ay back to Lorient and there were 25-30kts with two metres waves which were really close together. And then one wave there was a horrible crunch, like when you are eating very dry food. So I put my torch on and see that I have maybe 15 or 20 ropes round my foils. So I put the autopilot on and dived and just started cutting them, and managed to cut them and then got back on the tiller and thought OK let us get going fast again. But, nothing. Then I took the big torch and saw around me that I am surrounded, trapped. I kept trying to cut away and then lost sight of everyone. I tried to radio Race Direction and got no one, and then Jesse randomly radioed back and said he would wait with me. He was giving me ideas, like ‘what have you tried?’ and then Mel and Pep joined us on the radio and we managed to get a chain of communication to the guard boat. It was big help with Jesse. The return to here was hard, but it was kind of fun. I tried to play around with the routing software a bit. So it was not too bad.”

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