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Last Updated: Saturday December 20 2008 13:16 GMT

Sailors leave race to join rescue

Yann Elies on his yacht

A British yachtswoman broke off from a solo round-the-world race to help rescue one of her fellow competitors.

Samantha Davies, 33, left her route and travelled 40 miles out of her way to try and reach Yann Elies.

The French sailor had broken his thigh bone when a huge wave hit his yacht, and was left stranded 800 miles off the southern coast of Australia.

He was rescued by a warship before Davies got to him, and she has now rejoined the race.

Generali skipper Yann Elies (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Yann Elies is being looked after by doctors on his way to hospital
France's Marc Guillemot, another competitor in the Vendee Globe race, also changed his course when he heard Elies was in trouble.

He managed to sail his boat close to Elies's yacht, despite the huge waves.

He threw Elies a bag with painkillers and water, and watched as he was rescued by the Australian navy ship.

Elies is now being treated by a doctor, and is being taken to Perth military hospital.

Back in the race

Luckily, Guillemot and Davies won't lose out for trying to help him.

They are being given time credits, and didn't lose their positions.

Sam Davies (Photo by Chris Ison/PA Wire)
Sam Davies is getting ready to re-join the race
After the rescue, Samantha Davies told reporters that yacht racing was an "amazing" sport.

She said: "Although it's a race and we are all dying to win, at the end of the day the health and safety of the competitors, who are our good friends, is the most important thing."