International search still underway for missing French yachtsmen

The Jeanneau Sun Rise 35, L’Actuel, has been discovered with nobody aboard about 500km west of the Azores less than a week after the two-man crew was reported overdue.

Coastguards and rescue authorities from both sides of the Atlantic were mobilised on Thursday in search of the white-hulled yacht that departed St Pierre and Miquelon (a group of small islands off the eastern coast of Canada near Newfoundland) on 21 May, bound for Le Havre with a possible stop over in Scotland or Ireland.

According to the Canadian website, The skipper is a veteran regatta racer named Gaétan de la Goublaye, 62, who had set off from the French Caribbean island of Martinique with a friend, Denis Guilmin, 47.

The last contact with the vessel was with the captain’s daughter who spoke with him on the phone on 24 May. At that time he said that everything was going well although they were a week behind schedule. The last known contact would put the vessel somewhere mid-Atlantic approximately 1,150km north-west of where the yacht was discovered by a Belgian yacht on Sunday.

L’Actuel’s headsail was partly furled and torn and the main was still up and reefed. There were lines trailing in the water and the satellite phone and safety gear was all still on board. Inside, items had shifted to one side, suggesting a possible capsize.

The French Coastguard at Griz Nez received the first call reporting that the vessel was overdue on Thursday and passed the information to a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Canada, from where the response to the incident is being coordinated.

Three fixed-wing aircraft from the UK, France and Canada are conducting a search and broadcasts are being made to cover mid-Atlantic as well as coastal broadcasts by Clyde, Stornoway and Falmouth Coastguard and the Irish and French Coastguard.