View Full Version : SUP Adrift In High Seas & Waves For 70 Miles & Two Nights In English Channel

04-01-2015, 03:51 PM

The following events happened in August 2014 but as I just learned of this remarkable story decided to post details here. Clemence Lapeyre, 24 of Paris was vacationing with family at a beach house in Normandy, northern France on the English channel. She had just finished a good meal with her family in honor of Assumption Day. There was a full moon out and conditions looked beautiful. So she paddled out from Morsalines near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue on an old windsurfing board at around 10 pm. She eventually realized that she was being moved further out by an offshore wind than she was comfortable with. Meanwhile her family was unaware that she had gone for a paddle and would remain so until the next day.


Conditions were harsh with up to 40 kt. winds and 12 ft.+ seas. Meanwhile Clemence had fallen off the board three times, eventually losing both her glasses and paddle. She had no flotation aid onboard either. So with impaired vision, cold and scared she soldiered on. She focused on: “I was scared, obviously.” “The idea was always to keep a goal in mind. To advance, not to die.” as quoted to francetvinfo. She was at sea for 36 hours and two long lonely nights. She worked hard to stay conscious throughout and to stay on her board.

Her family eventually discovered her absence alerted the authorities on Monday afternoon. The Regional Operational Centre for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) Joburg sortied a Naval helicopter for SAR along with surface craft of the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. Despite extensive search operations efforts were suspended that same night by the decision of the maritime prefecture.

She was found by a Belgian fishing vessel, "Chryves" about about 30 miles out of Le Harve around 3:30 pm on Tuesday. The vessel alerted her sister that she had been found by radio. She was then conveyed to hospital in the town of Fecamp to be treated for dehydration, exhaustion and sunburn.

Ms. Lapeyre being transported to the ambulance at the docks of La Harve.
http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/basse-normandie/2014/08/13/clemence-sauvee-apres-avoir-derive-36-heures-en-mer-entre-miracle-et-imprudence-531814.html Video coverage can be found in French at this link.

France's national maritime rescue service SNCM said it was a "miracle" she had been found alive by others after having suspended the several hour search for Ms. Lapeyre. Apparently high winds and seas had been forecast. The same strong weather system claimed six French mountaineers on the Mont Blanc range.

Clemence Lapeyre in hospital

SUP Passion a French site had the following comments about avoiding an ordeal like this:

"Small summary of security

- Never from night alone stand up paddle
- Put a leash and a carry a flotation vest
- Navigate with suitable equipment
- Bring a waterproof phone or a waterproof bag
- Always take drinking water
- If long journey on the high seas, taking flares
- Watch the weather before sailing"