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Sailor rescued from capsized boat

1/6/2009

PARIS -- French skipper Jean Le Cam has been rescued from his capsized yacht by a rival in the Vendee Globe around-the-world solo sailing contest.

Le Cam is reportedly healthy and aboard the PRB, the boat of skipper Vincent Riou.

The rescue west of Cape Horn on Tuesday was a surprise to organizers. They had expected a Chilean naval vessel to extract Le Cam early Wednesday.

But Riou was the first to reach Le Cam's boat, which capsized overnight Monday. Riou reported to race organizers that he could hear Le Cam shouting from the boat.

Riou circled the capsized boat three or four times before he was able to rescue Le Cam, who managed to extricate himself from the upside down boat.

Le Cam came in second in the previous Vendee Globe in 2004, less than seven hours behind Riou after 87 days, 10 hours battling sleep deprivation and rough seas.

This time, 16 of 30 sailors who started off France's Atlantic Coast on Nov. 9 have since abandoned the race.

Michel Desjoyeaux leads aboard Foncia, about 106 nautical miles ahead of Roland Jourdain on Veolia Environnement.

The Vendee Globe, a single-handed race for men and women without any stopovers, takes the fleet around the three great capes -- the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn -- marking the southern tips of Africa, Australia and America.