Saturday, 5 March 2011

BWR: Health worries for Michèle Paret on board Mirabaud

Michèle Paret on board Mirabaud off New Zealand. Image copyright Mirabaud.

by Bernard Schopfer

Having suffered from anaemia for the past month, Michèle Paret has now been forced into a time-out in order to recuperate before the final push for home. Dominique Wavre is now effectively sailing the boat single-handedly.

The difficult sailing conditions that Mirabaud is currently experiencing are not making life easy for Michèle Paret and haven’t given her the opportunity to rest and overcome the anemia she has been suffering from since the Indian Ocean crossing.

Speaking to us via satellite phone, Dominique Wavre explained, “Today has been very difficult; we been crossing a zone with squalls of over 40 knots and the conditions on board have been very rough. The sea is dangerously messed up and we’ve had to batten down the hatches to avoid the inside the boat being swamped by waves. In these conditions, gybing is a very risky business, but luckily for the moment, nothing is broken.

Last night, in the middle of a manoeuvre, Michele took a heavy fall in the cockpit and passed out while I was on the foredeck. When she came to, she managed to get back inside the boat and with considerable courage even made it back out shortly afterwards to help me get through the gybe.”

So far, it seems that the medication we took on board in New Zealand hasn’t helped restore her to full health; for the last few days she’s been suffering a great deal and we have had to reduce sail to make the conditions easier. The performance of the boat is obviously affected, but Michèle is in no state to be out on deck at the moment. For the moment she is on the sidelines and I’m back in ‘Vendée Globe’ mode, power-napping for 20 minutes when I can.

At the moment it’s still stormy, with the wind between 20 and 30 knots. We are expecting a short period of calm in a few hours time before the wind picks up again all the way to Cape Horn. Getting round the Horn will be a huge relief for us to be honest.”

Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret are not planning to stop in Ushuaia, hoping that the rest Michèle is currently getting will be enough to get her back on her feet for the final dash across the Atlantic. Antonio Palma, Associate and CEO of Mirabaud stresses that “the health of the two co-skippers obviously takes priority over the competition. We’re with Michèle in spirit and wish her a quick recovery and are 100% behind the team in their decision to put security first.”

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