Picked up by Philippe Beaubon with the intention of taking part in the next Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, which will depart on November 6, 2022 from Saint-Malo, Trimaran Lakota was on a delivery trip to France.
This 60-foot trimaran was formerly based in the Philippines, where I left several weeks ago with three crew members on board: the boat owner, a Filipino sailor who was already working for the previous owner and another skipper.
The goal is Take the ferry to the Mediterranean, where Philippe Beaubon plans to take it back before qualifying for the Rome Route
Under the watchful eye of Maurice Eugen, Navy and MICA
After leaving Djibouti, where it had to technically stop for a week due to an engine problem as explained by Didier Ravon at Voiles & Voilers, the Tremaran crew is sailing on Thursday 19 May between Eritrea and Yemen. . An area known to be so dangerous for piracy, that the men on board voluntarily opted not to activate the AIS, a beacon that lets them know the boat’s location, speed and direction.
On land, the crew follows day in and day out Maurice Eugène, navigator, accomplice and guide of Philo Popon for many years, who oversees and coordinates the return of the boat from Aber and Rake. “Philou asked me to organize all the logistics around Trimaran, I’m used to that kind of excursions and orientation too,” he says.
From his home in Abers, Maurice Eugene follows the progress of the boat, he is in daily contact with the National Navy and MICA in Brest (Editor’s note: The Maritime Information Awareness and Cooperation Center is the French center of expertise dedicated to Maritime Security, with global jurisdiction) that ensures the security of this region Navy.
“I contacted the French Navy and MICA long before the boat left the Philippines. With the commander of the MICA unit, frigate captain Eric Chaslin, we discussed in advance everything that is possible on a crossing like this. We never leave with a boat of this size, of this type in places like this …every morning, between 8 and 9 am, I have a briefing with the British Navy on the boat route.”
Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers…
On this Thursday, May 19, Maurice Eugene has just reported to the Navy and MICA the last position of the boat along the Yemeni coast: all is well even if the trimaran, to his taste, is also a little too because it has fallen off the rails. An hour later, his phone rang: a crew member told him that there was a pirate on board.
Maurice Oguin immediately warns the maritime authorities in Brest, noting that there are two speedboats on each side of the Trimaran, that a pirate has climbed onto the trampoline with a Kalashnikov …
And there, something happens: the wind is rising and the boat is getting faster and faster. Suddenly the pirates didn’t quite understand what was happening because they weren’t used to seeing the boats sailing so fast. Suddenly, they dropped the bag, but another boat, longer and faster than the first, returned to the Ultramaran. With this time around, seven men are on board, all equipped with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers… They are more aggressive, more dangerous.”
bullet at mast
Firing begins, and a bullet cuts off the main sail rail and ends its trajectory in the mast. Maurice Eugen saw this attack almost live, commenting on his phone with a team member: “There was one with me online, another at the head and the owner Philippe Prieillo who never left. Philippe est un médecin urgentiste, il a l’habitude de voir des choses que le commun des mortels ne voit pas donc il répondait aux pirates qui semblaient interloqués car, d’ordinaire, quand ils prennent un bateau en otage, les otages s’aplatissent immediately. That was clearly not the case.”
Maurice Eugène warns the Navy, which immediately hijacks an Italian frigate, Berganini, which is 300 miles from the area. On this frigate there is a large platform with a helicopter in its position.
“They sent the helicopter and when the pirate saw the helicopter coming they took off. In addition to the helicopter, there were also special forces with huge tires that reached the area very quickly. They secured the area.”
Take Altrimeran to Djibouti
On board the trimaran, the crew is gradually regaining their senses, but the engine, which has been very busy for the past few hours, is no longer responding. To make matters worse, the wind fell completely…
After that, the multi-hull vehicle under the Italian Navy’s inflatable escort was towed 20 miles from Djibouti. The three team members were arrested on Friday evening by the Djibouti Coast Guard.
The Ultramaran must now undergo an inventory, in particular the mast that received an AK-47 bullet. A piece of the mainsail track would also have to be changed, not to mention the motor in the canopy. Explains Maurice Eugene, who did not expect his name to be in
The Washington Post which, the next day, recounts the attack on its website.
Ashur, Philip Popon, who this Thursday, May 19th, took part in a survival course (editor’s note: a mandatory course for all Rum Road competitors), catch up on everything live.
Next month, 60ft Trimaran It must go to Mer Agitée, Michel Desjoyeaux’s shipyard in Port-la-Forêt, to undergo a renovation before the race across the Atlantic.
(1): Former winner of “Pierre 1er” at Rhum Road with Florence Arthaud in 1990