'Gathering Cruise' Tall ship hits rocks and sinks - all crew rescued

tragic end to a grand old ship - Astrid
.. .
The Tall Ship Astrid, a 42m Dutch training vessel taking part in Ireland's Gathering Cruise, has hit rocks inside the Sovereign Islands at Ballymacus Point, near Kinsale in Ireland with 30 people on board. Thanks to those standing by and the RNLI, all on board were rescued.

Four RNLI lifeboats were involved – the both Kinsale and Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboats together with Ballycotton and Crosshaven. There was a 2m swell and winds were force five to six.

Irish Coast Guard helicopters from Waterford and Shannon were also on scene along with ambulances and medical crews from Cork.

Speaking about the call-out, Courtmacsherry RNLI coxswain Sean O’Farrell said: 'Everyone was very fortunate. I want to praise the quick thinking of the skipper and the crew from the Astrid. They kept calm and did everything we asked them to do. We were able to get them to safety quickly and a major tragedy was averted. To be able to recover 30 people safely was a great day for everyone involved.'

Captain Pieter de Kam, Captain of the Astrid, has said: 'I would like to thank the lifeboat and the Coastguard for the safe rescue of all my crew. We very much appreciate their outstanding work.'

On board the Tall Ship Astrid, which was on a voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg and calling in to Kinsale, were 23 trainees from France, Ireland, the Netherlands, UK and Spain as well as the crew. The crew were from Belgium and Captain De Kam was from the Netherlands.

The vessel experienced engine failure as it was leaving Oysterhaven as part of The Gathering Cruise parade of sail into Kinsale.

Those on board notified a nearby RIB which was being helmed by ISA (Irish Sailing Association) CEO Harry Hermon. The RIB attempted to take a line from Astrid – however, due to the onshore winds and swell this was not possible.
Following this, Captain de Kam issued a mayday signal, and the ISA RIB and the yachts in the Gathering Cruise flotilla stood by until the RNLI arrived.

The rescue teams were able to safely rescue all 30 crew, who were brought to Kinsale on board the yacht Spirit of Oysterhaven and the lifeboat.

They were then brought to Kinsale Yacht Club, where they were provided with showers, food and dry clothing. All of those rescued were given medical checks and found to be in good health.

Sail Training Ireland and Kinsale Yacht Club are working together to make arrangements for accommodation and for returning the crew to their homes.

Harry Hermon, CEO, Irish Sailing Association, said that it is thanks to the rescue services that all crew were rescued quickly and safely without injury.

'I would also like to thank all the sailors from the Gathering Cruise who stood by Astrid providing support to the crew. Kinsale Yacht Club has also been fantastic providing food and clothing and helping Sail Training Ireland find accommodation for all the crew.'
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