Orion, a 104m (341ft) luxurious cruise ship, was at the centre of the rescue of French solo yacht sailor Alain Delord. The ship, containing 91 guests, was called to detour 687 nautical miles in order to rescue the sailor whose ship was badly damaged after the mast broke into three pieces following heavy seas.
Orion finally arrived in the search zone at 8.30pm on Sunday 20 January after a 54-hour race to reach Mr Delord, who had abandoned his yacht for a life raft. Guided by an RAAF Hercules dropping flares to guide the way, the crew of Orion located the raft and Captain Mike Taylor put the rescue plan into action. Positioning the ship windward of the raft created a calm patch for the Zodiac to be deployed. The rescue team, headed by expedition leader and a former solo round the world yachtsman Don McIntyre, quickly secured the life raft and transferred Delord to the security of the ship.
The ship’s captain was very satisfied with the outcome, commenting, “I am happy to advise that Mr. Delord was recovered safely and without injury to crew or passengers.”
The rescue attempt and subsequent reaction via the videos and photos can be seen on the Orion Expedition Cruise’s facebook page.