A lone French sailor who was adrift for days in a life raft in huge Southern Ocean swells after his yacht sank was recovered yesterday by the crew of an Antarctic cruise ship that had raced to his rescue. Alain Delord was attempting to sail solo and without assistance around the world when his yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, was damaged in rough weather off southern Australia's Tasmania island last Friday. The Frenchman was forced to abandon ship and had been adrift since then. An Antarctic cruise ship carrying 100 passengers was diverted about 1,800 kilometres to his assistance. It battled worsening weather to reach him before sunset, amid fears he would have to spend a third night at sea. "I'm very pleased to confirm the solo sailor, who had been in a life raft in the Southern Ocean for the past three days, has been recovered by the cruise ship Orion and [the Australian Maritime Safety Authority or Amsa] believes he is being taken to Hobart," a spokeswoman said. Amsa said the Orion managed to find Delord and pluck him to safety, in an alert issued just after 9.30pm. There were "scant" early details of the rescue, but Amsa said Delord had been recovered "safely and without injury". "He is currently receiving medical attention and early indications are that he is healthy," the authority said. "Weather conditions were better than expected and there was plenty of light in the area." A Fairfax newspaper reporter on board the Orion said Delord had been recovered by a Zodiac inflatable dinghy. He looked "awake and relatively well" as he boarded the ship by a side door to cheers and whistles from those on board. "He is very tired and being attended to by the ship's doctor," said Ian Vella, manager of the ship's hotel. "He is very hungry, so he is going to have something to eat and a glass of red wine for his dinner." Orion tour leader Don McIntyre said it had been an incredibly quick operation. "[The Zodiac crew] rocketed across the water, grabbed Alain and brought him onto the Zodiac," McIntyre said. "They then rocketed back to us, we brought him up and it was over that quick," he said. "It pretty much all worked to plan. … It's a great feeling." The Orion was 11 days into an 18-day passenger cruise of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic when it was drafted into the rescue.