Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Aero 728x90

Three sailors and dog in 'near death' rescue

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 27 Apr 2014
Blue Pearl - a ’near death’ rescue SW
British sailors Leonard and Lisa Rorke didn't think they would survive when they had to take to their life raft in 25ft seas after the bulkhead on their yacht broke up in the middle of the Atlantic this week. One crew, Belgian sailor Henri Worthalter and Dexter the Jack Russell terrier also took to the life raft, but they were 'preparing to die.'

After the yacht sank they had to constantly bail the life raft in the high seas, about 800nm off the coast of Bermuda.

Leonard Rorke, 55, was rescued from a liferaft, along with his wife Lisa Rorke, 50, Henri Worthalter, 29, and Dexter the Jack Russell, 3, after their 49ft (15m) yacht, Blue Pearl, sank. It had been badly battered during two days of Atlantic storms.

The group told the Guardian they had an electronic position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) in the liferaft that allowed the coastguard to direct ships toward their location.

'We were preparing to die,' said Rorke, who added that they were holding on 'for dear life' and having to patch up the raft amid poor visibility, 25ft waves and winds reaching about 40mph.

'We were bailing water. It was life and death. We're very grateful. We are very, very lucky,' he said in the recording of the rescue's debriefing.

He said: 'The last thing we did was step off into the life raft. Well, we didn't step off. We had to jump and hold for dear life.'

The ordeal ended about 12.30am after the Tilda Kosan, a 351ft tanker, diverted course from its planned trip to Mexico. It was one of three ships that answered to AMVER's call. The ship found the group after making three passes in dark, stormy conditions. It was about 36 miles away from the life raft when it first joined the search.

The US Coast Guard was notified on Thursday by the International Rescue Center after a message came in saying that people were in a liferaft and needed help. A call for assistance from any commercial ships in the vicinity was answered by the three ships which all diverted their course to aid in the search.

Rorke had high praise for the speed with which the coastguard reacted as the radio beacon which he was using only lasts for about 48 hours.

He also praised the crew of the Tilda Kosan, saying: 'They were 32 nautical miles away in the pitch black. They got the first position and they couldn't find us and they went back and they got the second position and a third position and then they actually travelled to our second position.'



Rorke had high praise for the Coast Guard, which coordinated the rescue. 'They were fantastic, absolutely fantastic. They didn't play around. They were super quick,' he said.

Time was of the essence. The radio beacon only lasts for about 48 hours.

'The presence and proper activation of the emergency position indicating radio beacon was instrumental in saving the crew members of the Blue Pearl,' Petty Officer James Hines, a search and rescue controller at the fifth District Command Centre in Portsmouth, said in a statement.

'This stresses the importance of a properly registered EPIRB, which provided us with an emergency point of contact and information on the boat.'

The Tilda Kosan plans to take the yacht's crew and Dexter the dog to Bermuda.

Message received from Leonard's (Len's) sister, Vanessa:

Sender: Vanessa Matthews (Rorke)

Message: I would just like to THANK YOU all who assisted in the rescue of my brother Len, his wife Lisa, crew member and Dexter their Jack Russell. Without your dedication and support, this would never have been possible. A big THUMBS UP and blessings to all concerned, you are all truly amazing people! God bless you all from Port Elizabeth, South Africa :)


Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82RS Sailing 660x82 AUSYachtspot J Boats Sportsboats 660x82

Related Articles

Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted today at 3:43 am
2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview
Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.
Posted on 21 Aug
Twenty-eighth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Noumea
Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long 'Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island - kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. Plenty of reef. The fringing reef well out with several well posted passages into the Lagoon. Once inside the lagoon one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. 'Crunch' (Coral reef and Islets). Never the less a small boat paradise....
Posted on 17 Aug
New rules to better protect and enable access to the Whitsundays
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said it was vital to protect the area’s values The updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management — an area-specific plan that manages use in this highly visited region in addition to Reef-wide zoning — follows extensive consultation.
Posted on 10 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Satori is for sale
This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. In-boom furling, self-tacking and hydraulic driven everything through push button controls that really work. You just need to trim your nails before sailing! It really is a boat that you can sail on your own, but nice to have company to show it off!
Posted on 9 Aug
Brisbane Boat Show – 18 days to go
The Brisbane Boat Show opens in less than three weeks, capturing all the Queensland boating lifestyle has to offer. There will be a huge clearance of fishing tackle and show only deals. If you love boats, fishing and water sports you don’t want to miss the Brisbane Boat Show.
Posted on 7 Aug
Knots are great, but beware of limitations
Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. There's a knot for every application and for many applications there is no better solution than a knot. Nonetheless it is important to be aware of the limitations of knots.
Posted on 3 Aug
Twenty-seventh blog from Jon Sanders - More South Pacific trade winds
In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. i.e. Sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia. (A sizeable French elongated Island) all in the trade wind belt. And after Noumea 'New Caledonia' to Bundaberg, where rum is made in Australia.
Posted on 31 Jul
Twenty-sixth blog from Jon Sanders - The South Pacific trade winds
First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. Some years your sails might flop along in a light wind. But it is there.
Posted on 27 Jul