Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Satellite Saviors

April 23rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

kannadbeaconThe Bouvet Rames Guyane is arguably the most grueling race on the planet. Solo contestants must literally row across the Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal to French Guiana. Yet even the strongest seafaring Frenchman is no match for Mother Nature, as Remy Alnet discovered about 400 miles from the finish line:

I was inside the cockpit and wanted to play the music louder. I was opening the hatch of my cabin when a wave larger than the others totally flooded the inside. The boat lost it’s balance and capsized quickly. I wanted to activate the pumping system, but it didn’t work. I dove over ten times, unsuccessfully unfortunately. Then I climbed on the hull of my boat, but I started getting cold and losing strength… I knew that I had to put together a shelter, because the arches that are meant for that were broken at the start, so I had the idea of using the oars on both sides of the boat fixing them with ropes, I built myself something like a ring.

Fortunately for Alnet, he managed to toss a pair of Kannad 406 emergency beacons into the roiling sea. These hooked into COSPAS-SARSAT, a satellite system designed to rescue the distressed, and which saved a whopping 283 lives last year alone. It took a long 29 hours, but Alnet was eventually picked up by a supertanker that had been tipped off by SARSAT.

More on the interaction between emergency beacons and SARSAT here. And you can check out footage of Remy Alnet in action here. Now Microkhan feels really guilty ’bout missing his morning run.

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