At 0237hrs local hours on Sunday 3 June, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) Sailing Manager, Alex Johnston, received a mayday call via satellite phone from the skipper of Tipsy Frenz, Dr Leon Chan, reporting that the yacht was taking on water. Tipsy Frenz, a Wauqueiz Centurion 45S, is one of four yachts competing in the RHKYC organized Taiwan Strait Race.
RHKYC Taiwan Strait Race 2011 - Tipsy Frenz
The crew had activated the yacht’s EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and subsequently abandoned ship using the yacht’s two life rafts. MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) were informed of the mayday via EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and phone and immediately activated a rescue plan involving coordination with commercial shipping, Taiwan Search and Rescue and Hong Kong Government Flying Services.
The RHKYC also set into motion their Crisis Management Plan with the team assembling at RHKYC Kellett Island. At 0630hrs, RHKYC received confirmation by SatPhone from Hong Kong MRCC that all eleven crew were recovered safely onboard the Hong Kong flagged cargo ship 'Easy Success'.
The ship is bound for Manila where the eleven Tipsy Frenz crew will disembark. Dr Chan confirmed by phone from the bridge of Easy Success that all eleven crew onboard were fit, well and uninjured. He believed that Tipsy Frenz had most likely sunk. The cause of the water ingress is unknown at this time. He praised HK MRCC and the captain and crew of the Easy Success for their quick response and consummate professionalism.
Weather reports for the area at the time of the incident indicated wind speeds of 20-25kts from the North East and seas of three to four metres.
The remaining yachts are expected to arrive in Kaoshiung between Sunday 3 June late PM and midday on 4 June. The event is sailed under ISAF (International Sailing Federation) Category 1 Offshore regulations which require at least 30% of the crew to have completed a sea survival course and first aid training.
In the case of Tipsy Frenz, six of the eleven crew have had sea survival training and in addition four of the crew are medical professionals.
RHKYC Taiwan Straits Race 2011 - Tipsy Frenz
The Taiwan Strait Race 2012 is organised and conducted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) with assistance and support from Kaohsiung Sailing Association (KSA) and the Chinese Taipei Sailing Association (CTSA).