HomeGlobal Solo ChallengeGlobal Solo Challenge : Louis Robein assisted by Argentinian Navy

Global Solo Challenge : Louis Robein assisted by Argentinian Navy

Louis Robein successfully assisted by Argentinian Navy after running aground in remote bay

Yesterday Louis Robein arrived safely in Ushuaia after his unfortunate ordeal, running aground in Bahia Aguirre, in the southeastern peninsula of Mitre in the Tierra del Fuego. He was very fatigued when the incident happened, after his incredible voyage that saw him sailing with no autopilot for over three weeks in the open Pacific before successfully rounding Cape Horn on April 5th.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III – Cape Horn @José Luarte Sepulveda


Louis intended to reach Ushuaia for repairs after rounding the Cape. Heavy weather affecting the area, with northwesterly winds of up to 60 knots made it impossible to immediately motor up the Beagle Channel and Louis patiently spent the evening of the 5th until the morning of the 6th hove-to, drifting slowly with sails on opposite tacks, in the shelter of the Tierra del Fuego and the archipelago de the Islas de Hornos.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @globalsolochallenge


By midday on the 6th the wind was still blowing hard but had decreased enough for him to start making way towards the coast of the Tierra del Fuego before heading west up the channel to Ushuaia. When steering in the cockpit, and with no autopilot Louis was unable to easily and quickly plot his position on the paper charts as the wind would immediately blow the boat off course. The sun was setting and as the profile of the headlands started to fade but despite the approaching darkness he was confident he was motoring up the Beagle Channel.

Unfortunately, fatigue, deception brought by the waning light of day and a dead reckoning misjudgment resulted in Louis motoring into the Bahia Aguirre. This area on the Mitre peninsula is uninhabited and is a protected natural reserve with no electricity or shore lights of any kind. The San Gonzalo lighthouse on the western entrance of the bay and the Elizalde light to the East used to mark this well protected bay which can be used to seek shelter. Neither lights are in function nowadays leaving Louis to navigate a dark coast with no easy reference points.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @globalsolochallenge


I woke up at night, something that has happened frequently during the entire Global Solo Challenge when skippers were sailing under difficult circumstances, and saw him sailing into the bay and thought he’d drop anchor and get some rest or even attempt repairs to his autopilot before proceeding to Ushuaia.

With the wind coming from shore the water was perfectly flat and the bay pitch black as the next day marked a new moon. Before Louis could realise the error he ran aground on the sandy bottom of the bay. All efforts to free the boat were unsuccessful and whilst trying to move the boat around with the engine the emergency tiller bar broke.

I woke up again a few hours later before sunrise and his updated position on the tracker was too close to shore for comfort and unfortunately an email from Louis confirmed he had run aground and requested assistance. His message said he had called the French coast guard at Cross Griz Nez asking them to liaise with local rescue authorities to send help.

As in other incidents, I made myself available for any assistance I can provide remotely. I spoke to MRCC Argentina and forwarded Louis’ safety dossier and details of the boat, then spoke to Cross Griz Nez and remained on standby whilst the incident was being dealt with the Argentinian Navy who are the National Maritime, River, and Lake Search and Rescue Authority in Argentina.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @Ministerio de Defensa Argentina


The official account published on the Ministry of Defense website reports that:

“The case was taken over by the coordinating center (MRCC) Ushuaia, which dispatched the fast boat ARA “Indómita”. The Navy vessel sailed from the military pier of the Naval Base Ushuaia at 4:20 a.m., with a doctor and salvage divers on board.

Furthermore, the Argentine Navy established contact through satellite phone with the sailboat’s only crew member, Louis Robein of French nationality, ensuring his good health and indicating the measures taken.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @Ministerio de Defensa Argentina


At the same time, it contacted the nearest ship, “Moonrise G” under the Panamanian flag, which headed to the area and remained in the safe waters of the bay in radio contact with the crew member; waiting for the arrival of the Navy personnel with smaller boats and salvage divers, capable of assisting him in the stranding position of his vessel.

From the early hours and throughout the day, MRCC Ushuaia maintained contact with the Gris-Nez France Search and Rescue Coordination Center, as well as with the authorities of the French Consulate in Argentina and the honorary consul of France in Ushuaia, Mario Guillermo Eiriz.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @Ministerio de Defensa Argentina


Upon the arrival of the fast boat ARA “Indómita” to the location, prevailing winds in the area exceeding 50 knots, prevented the safe nautical operation of smaller boats. After establishing radio communication with the sailboat’s crew member, the unit remained navigating nearby waiting for better conditions.

After 3 pm the operation with RIBs was carried out, and the sailboat’s captain was extracted from the stranded vessel, who was taken aboard the Argentine Navy vessel for medical check-up.

After ensuring human life at sea had been safeguarded in accordance with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, the salvage divers conducted a thorough inspection of the vessel’s conditions, analyzing the feasibility of its towing.

Around 11 pm of Sunday 7th, the fast boat “Indómita” sailed from Bahía Aguirre, Puerto Español, towing the sailboat “Le Souffle de la Mer” towards the military pier of the Naval Base Ushuaia, where Consul Mario Eiriz was waiting, accompanied by the Commander of the Southern Naval Area, Navy Commodore José Alberto Martí Garro.”

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @Ministerio de Defensa Argentina


We are extremely grateful to the Argentinian Navy for deploying such significant resources and dedicating time and personnel to deal with the situation so professionally, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Louis first and then inspecting Le Souffle de La Mer III with their divers and towing the boat for 95 miles to Ushuaia.

The ordeal had a happy ending, the fact that the winds blew from shore ensured the stranded boat was not crushed or broken by waves onto the beach. Autumn is now starting to bite, air temperatures are sub zero we can see in the photos it was snowing, things could have easily taken a turn for the worse, had the wind been blowing from a different direction or the boat had hit rocks. Water temperature was just 7°C in the area and sudden flooding or the need to suddenly abandon the boat would have been met with a very high risk of suffering from deadly hypothermia within a very short span of time.

Louis Robein – Le Souffle de la Mer III @Ministerio de Defensa Argentina


Louis needs plenty of rest before making plans for repairs as well as establishing the best course of action considering the advancing season that makes his onward journey more and more dangerous. We will find out more in the course of the next few days.

We never cease to be fascinated by Louis’ stamina and resilience in critical circumstances. This was a very unfortunate incident, made more than understandable considering the circumstances, the fatigue and and the fact Louis was in remote and unfamiliar waters in heavy weather conditions at night. As many sailors before him he found out, often the safest place is the sea, not land, and fatigue can become such a critical factor and enemy. The incident per se was rather trivial if put in perspective with what Louis has achieved so far, inspiring all who have followed his incredible journey. Bon courage Louis.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com