It's a miracle, says rescued yachtsman

Rescued sailor jokes about his ordeal

Frenchman Alain Delord jokes with his Antarctic cruise ship rescuers that his unassisted sail around the world has now been "ruined".

The French yachtsman rescued by an Australian ship from the Southern Ocean says it's a miracle he has been given a second chance at life.

You're hoping for life and for someone to come and rescue you

Alain Delord spent three days in a life raft before being rescued by the cruise ship Orion on Sunday night about 500 nautical miles southeast of Tasmania after his yacht Tchouk Tchouk Nougat was dismasted on a round-the-world voyage.

"It's a second chance at life," he told reporters through a translator after arriving in Hobart on board the Orion on Tuesday.

"It's a miracle the Orion was on the way back. You always hope for the best."

Delord said it had been more than three months since he had left home and his confidence in his vessel had grown.

"[I had] already travelled halfway across the world," he said through the translator. "And then [I] hit bad weather with 60-70 knot winds and by then [I] was in the centre of the depression."

Delord described himself as "pretty lucky" to escape the ordeal with only a few bruises, scratches and swollen hands.

"When first contact happens you know someone's aware and you feel much better," Mr Delord said.

"You're hoping for life and for someone to come and rescue you."

He also thanked his rescuers, saying "merci" several times.

"Thank you to the Australian maritime authorities and thank you to Orion," he said through the translator.

Orion's captain Mike Taylor said the rescue conditions were extremely difficult.

"Once we got there it was touch and go," Captain Taylor said on Tuesday.

"Visibility was very, very bad."

It took the Orion three days to reach Delord.

Captain Taylor said they made good progress in the first two days, but on the last day the wind and swell slowed the ship.

This left the crew with only 20 minutes of daylight to pull Delord from the water after reaching him at 9pm, three hours later than Capt Taylor had hoped.

"The problem with that of course is that the sun sets at 2120 [9.20pm] and although you've got a little bit of twilight you're really under the gun to effect the rescue while you've still got daylight," Captain Taylor said.

"It's not the kind of thing you can do in the hours of darkness."

The ship's crew and expedition team spent the time it took them to reach Mr Delord forming a plan to rescue him.

"My heart was really in my mouth," Captain Taylor said.

The Antarctic cruise liner arrived at Hobart's Macquarie Wharf just after 9am (AEDT) on Tuesday morning.

The ship's 100 passengers crowded the front deck as it docked in front of a small crowd and large media contingent.

Customs, immigration and French consular officials arrived soon after and boarded the vessel.

Mr Delord lost his personal belongings, including his passport, and new documents were organised before he could disembark.