ANDRE Georges Marcel Rambaud was counting his lucky stars yesterday after being rescued from his drifting vessel by the Fijian ship Solander 4 over the weekend.
The Frenchman was sailing from Papeete to Noumea when one of the smaller hulls on his trimaran Clind'oeil was damaged and started filling with water.
This prompted him to send out a distress call on Thursday, a call the Solander 4 answered.
A relieved Mr Rambaud said he was grateful to the crew and captain of the fishing vessel for responding to the distress signal he had sent out.
Though he spoke very little English, he was able to communicate how lucky he was to have been rescued adding that he was grateful to the Fiji Navy for its assistance in co-ordinating the rescue.
The 79-year-old Frenchman's distress call was received by authorities in Noumea who then contacted the Fiji Navy.
Solander 15 captain Viliame Talanoa said the Solander 4 was 40 miles away from Mr Rambaud when the distress signal was relayed by the Fiji Navy.
"The distress call was made on Friday morning at nine," Captain Talanoa said.
"When the Solander 4 reached the vessel he was dry and healthy, after the rescue he was brought to the Solander 15."
Captain Talanoa said Mr Rambaud's vessel had to be left behind.
Mr Rambaud said he was still intent on getting to New Caledonia and would continue on to the country after a brief stay in Fiji.