Skipper Marc Guillemot fined £9,381 and ordered to pay £4,125 costs

Would-be record breaker Marc Guillemot was fined £9,381 and ordered to pay costs of £4,125 for travelling the

wrong way in busy traffic lanes off the Kent coast.

The skipper of the French racing yacht

Safran was sentenced at Southampton Magistrates Court on Thursday

December 6.

The Safran left Lizard Point in Cornwall on

June 6 2012, in an attempt to beat its

own previous record set in 2011 for the fastest sail around the United Kingdom

and Ireland.

At

11.43pm on June 6, the Safran was seen by Dover Coastguard travelling in a

North Easterly direction in the South West lane of the Dover Strait Traffic

Separation Scheme ( TSS).

On

the June 7 at 4am, the yacht failed to proceed in the appropriate traffic lane

in the Sunk traffic separation scheme.

During

its passage, several merchant ships altered course to avoid a collision with

the yacht.

Dover

Coastguard made a number of attempts to contact the yacht with no response.

Eventually the French Coastguard got in touch and pointed out that the vessel

was travelling the wrong way in the TSS.

Guillemot

replied saying he was trying to break the record for sailing around the UK and

Ireland and would not alter course.

In

total, the Safran travelled 28 nautical miles in the wrong direction in both

separation schemes. This was in breach of Rule 10(b)(i) of the Convention on

the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972. 

In passing sentence, the Chairman

of the Magistrates, John Johnson said: “We have heard this afternoon that Mr. Guillemot is

an experienced and confident yachtsman. “However, Mr. Guillemot did travel the

wrong way in the shipping lanes.

“For the offence on the 6 June, we

fine you £13,000 reduced by your early guilty plea to £8,700.

“For the offence on the 7 June, we

fine you £1,000 reduced to £666, once again for your early guilty plea.”

Kaimes Beasley, channel navigation information service manager at

Dover Coastguard, said: “The Strait of Dover Traffic Separation Scheme is

one of the busiest in the world.

“Mr Guillemot was reckless in his navigation during the hours of

darkness not only in the Dover Strait TSS, but also in the Sunk Traffic Separation

Scheme.

“He put his crew and other vessels at significant risk in order to try

to beat his previous record.”