From the Golden Globe Race office 2330 11 i 19: GOOD NEWS!! Just received a call from Robin Davie’s brother that Robin called in by VHF radio to a coast station. He is 25miles SW of the SCILLY Isles. All is well. I am sure Robin will answer all the questions later, but certainly good news for now. Robin had left instructions with his brother that If he had NOT made contact by Tuesday morning something must be wrong. His brother then raised his concerns with UK Falmouth Coast Guard on Wednesday morning and they were managing the situation. The family is very grateful for all they and the French MRCC have done. Details remain sketchy, but it appears that faced with very light head winds, Davie decided to take one long tack out into the Atlantic well out of radio range and the main shipping routes. rather than zig-zag upwind on the direct route north to Brest and across to Falmouth.
Our earlier story followed the MCGA’s call for all ships to be on alert:
Fingers are crossed for British solo yachtsman Robin Davie as Falmouth Coastguard issued an ‘All Ships Alert’ when he was reported overdue back in his home port of Falmouth, having left the Britanny port of Les Sables d’Olonne in NW France at 10am on Saturday January 5th for the 300 mile solo voyage across the English Channel.
The 67 year old experienced sailor told his brother Rick Davie to expect him back last Tuesday (8th). Nothing has been heard from him since. Davie and his Rustler 36 C’Est La Vie are three days late now after six and a half days at sea. (Updated: 1800 January 11th). It is understood he has a handheld VHF radio, rather than a more powerful set fitted to his boat with a masthead aerial.
For the Marine and Coastguard Agency, Jo Groenenberg told CS: “The UK and French Coastguard have been making broadcasts via satellite, Navtex and VHF throughout today (11th January). The French coastguard requested that its aircraft which were out on patrol also broadcast to shipping and keep a sharp lookout for objects in the water.
“The French Coastguard aircraft will conduct a search tomorrow. A UK Coastguard aircraft is likely to join the search later, once it has received further information regarding the search area from the French.”
Weather conditions have been light and variable for the past week. C’Est La Vie had recently undergone a complete refit including new mast and rigging, which had been fitted in Les Sables D’Olonne. Davie who has successfully completed three solo circumnavigations, had entered the 2018 Golden Globe Race but ran out of time to complete his preparations, and was returning home to Cornwall intending to compete in the next GGR solo round the world race, setting off in 2022.
Born in 1951 in St Agnes, Cornwall, the sea has always been in his blood. Davie recalled recently Robin Knox-Johnston’s return to Falmouth at the end of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1969 to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world. His school refused to give his class time off to watch the spectacle, but he remembers saying to himself: “I’ll do that one day”.
After serving in the British Merchant Navy for 20 years, Davie competed in the first BOC Challenge Around Alone Race in 1990 in yacht named Spirit of Cornwall, and went on to make his second and third solo circumnavigations in the 1994 and 1998 BOC races. During the 1994 race he was dismasted thousands of miles from Cape Horn and sailed under jury rig around the Cape to the Falkland Islands.
Images: © PPL