A French cat on a round-the-world voyage was yesterday confined to the brig aboard his skipper's damaged yacht at Careys Bay.

Navy was locked up on the orders of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

An MPI officer visited each day to feed and change the litter of the nautical moggie, under strict quarantine at a secure berth at Careys Bay, near Port Chalmers in Dunedin.

Owned by French solo sailor Francis Tolan, the 18-month-old cat arrived on the yacht Alizes II on Sunday.

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A participant in the inaugural La Longue Route single-handed circumnavigation, Tolan's yacht limped into Otago Harbour after blowing out three sails, having engine problems and striking rocks off the Otago coast.

French round-the-world solo sailors Fanch Guillon (left) and Francis Tolan, aboard Mr Tolan's damaged yacht Alizes II, tied up at Careys Bay yesterday. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery
French round-the-world solo sailors Fanch Guillon (left) and Francis Tolan, aboard Mr Tolan's damaged yacht Alizes II, tied up at Careys Bay yesterday. Photo / Stephen Jaquiery

Over the past six months, Navy and Tolan have sailed from France through the Atlantic with stops in Cape Verde and Brazil, around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Indian Ocean.

But upon arrival in Otago Harbour, Tolan was met by MPI staff who had got wind of his feline crew of one, and who locked Navy inside a cage.

In a statement, an MPI spokesman said the cat was confined to the yacht, but it appeared staff were yet to decide what would happen to the cat when the vessel was craned on to a dry-dock for repairs to its hull.

''The cat is currently bonded to the vessel [in a cage].

''We are considering what will happen to the animal if the boat is taken out of the water.

''Options include housing the cat at a secure quarantine facility.''

Speaking via an interpreter - his friend Fanch Guillon, who is also participating in the event and arrived in the harbour a few days earlier - Tolan said the cat made a fine crew member who enjoyed life at sea.

The cat even had a lifejacket, but it was rarely used as Navy tended to keep off deck.

The La Longue Route voyage was organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bernard Moitessier beginning the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world yacht race.

Moitessier had been on track to take the fastest time and the prizemoney, but he opted not to return to the start line in England and the adulation of the crowds, instead sailing on to Tahiti for obscure reasons linked to his intense mysticism.