A dramatic video of the salvage shows a Spanish search and rescue diver banging the bottom of the boat, listening for signs of life. After being rescued on Tuesday, Camprubi, 62, said he was able to survive thanks to an air bubble Spanish Coast Guard and media reports.
The sailor said he was shocked to realize the extent of the damage to his boat – a shattered mast, a destroyed boom, a destroyed keel and most of the equipment was gone.
“I couldn’t understand how I could survive,” said Camprubi from Marseille. told the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia. “The conditions were very adverse.”
Camprubi set sail on Sunday in his 40-foot vessel from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. according to Reuters. He competed in a qualifying race for the forthcoming Route du Rhum transatlantic solo sailing competition, held every four years.
He had arrived in Fisterra in the west on Monday Spain, where he encountered strong winds and ten-foot waves and soon realized his boat had lost the keel, a beam that runs down the middle of the boat, he said in an interview with La Voz de Galicia.
“I was trying to pull the mainsail when the boat started to tilt,” he told the newspaper. “So I went in without thinking much about it and in 15 seconds the boat capsized.”
On a rescue mission described as “on the edge of the impossible“, rescue workers fought against the rough sea. Vicente Cobelo, a member of the Coast Guard Special Operations Team, opposite the television channel laSexta that when the rescuer hit the boat on Monday night to see if there were any survivors, he received an answer.
“We knew there was someone underneath,” he said.
But the water was too rough to attempt a rescue. So the team had to wait until the next morning to try again.
While waiting for help, Camprubi said he used the air bladder to breathe and tried not to panic. He said La Voz de Galicia es It was the thought of not seeing his wife and children again that helped him survive the ordeal.
He added that the air bubble was about 27 inches long on Monday, but shrunk drastically overnight. On Tuesday the water was filling up and he knew he was running out of time. But he remained calm, he said.
“I never panicked,” he told La Voz de Galicia. “I tried to see reality and find solutions. I was afraid I wouldn’t see my kids again.”
On Tuesday, two divers swam under the boat to extricate the sailor, who was wearing a survival suit and was submerged in water up to his knees, Coast Guard officials said.
Coast Guard member Cobelo told reporters that as the divers approached the boat, the sailor jumped into the freezing water and swam under the boat to get to the surface.
“He got into the water on his own initiative and emerged freely, assisted by the divers who had to pull him through because it was difficult for him to get out in his survival suit,” Cobelo told laSexta television.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, video showed rescue workers taking him to safety.
Camprubi, who is an experienced sailor and has competed in many local and international competitions, told La Voz de Galicia that the experience made him stop competing professionally.
“I don’t want to risk my life anymore,” he said. “I just want to take care of my family.”