Laurent Camprubi, a French skipper, managed to keep his composure as rescuers spent several hours trying to retrieve him from under the boat. Laurent only managed to survive thanks to a 30 cm air pocket.
Salvamento Maritimo, a Spanish sea rescue service, described the rescue as “on the verge of impossible” in a Facebook post on August 4.
The 62-year-old skipper was rescued on Tuesday after his boat capsized in the middle of the qualifying race for the Route du Rhum.
Laurent was 14 miles from the small archipelago of Sisargas, off the coast of Galicia, when he triggered his distress beacon.
A search was quickly launched and rescuers found her yacht, named Jeanne Solo Sailor, buffeted by high waves.
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Laurent, from Marseille, was eventually rescued and said: “I knew they were there and they would save me, they wouldn’t abandon me. It was a matter of time. I had to survive for me and my family.
Juan Ferrer, chief of operations of the rescue service, stressed that the sailor “was equipped with a special suit that saved him from hypothermia”. But he also praised his “knowledge, which allowed him to calmly await our arrival”.
The rescue operation, which involved five divers, began at 8.23pm on Monday August 1 when the alert was first received.
Juan Ferrer added: “As soon as we received the call from CCS Finisterre, a special operations technician from the strategic base of Fene, Vicente Cobelo, with the diving intervention team of the company Ardentia Marine, the company awarded the contract that provides services from the strategic rescue bases, depart”.
Laurent was transported by helicopter to Alvedro airport where an ambulance was waiting for him.