Competitor in Mini Transat missing

Italian Mini Transat competitor went missing on Sunday night - search in progress

Monday October 1st 2001, Author: Anne Massot, Location: Transoceanic
An Italian competitor in the solo mini Transatlantic Race 6.50, Roberto Varinelli of Metallurgica Calvi was reported missing sometime during Sunday night.

Roberto VarinelliA search began Monday, at dawn for Roberto Varinelli. A procedure of monitoring the Italian quickly transformed into a need for help and security maritime Portuguese (MRCC) was quick to organise the search plan.

A plane was sent out mid Sunday afternoon based on the strong presumption the skipper on board was missing. This was confirmed a few hours later, at 2000hrs by an overflight helicopter which could not contact Metallurgica Calvibut could confirm that Roberto Varinelli was not on board his boat.

Maritime search began first light Monday morning 0845hrs with the Portuguese Patrol craft the Zambezi and the patrol craft Irises of the French Maritime Businesses. They were also joined by a Portuguese corvette Joao Roby and an Air search was also launched.

The weather conditions are rather difficult: with rough seas, grey skies and little visibility with wind force 3. But at 04.00h the ship Irises reached the boat and three men went aboard to inspect Metallurgica Calvi. All the survival hardware was still with the boat which was a combination TPS, liferaft and life jacket. The search continues.

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