None were racing. Some were families, some solo sailors, some were professionals and others novices. Some were rescued from the Southern Ocean in freezing temperatures, some had hit submerged objects and their vessels sank under them, others lost way and were rescued from rocks, some were rescued with significant danger to the rescuers, some of whom deservedly received bravery awards.
Wild Eyes close up - the rig can be seen astern and underwater in this image
The hero of all rescuers remains the EPIRB, which without doubt has increased likelihood of quick rescue - or rescue at all - dramatically. The other feature that emerges from these rescues is how many commercial ships selflessly give up their time to rescue yachts in distress.
Here are Sail-World Cruising's top rescues for 2010 of sailors not involved in racing:
Wild Eyes in the South Indian Ocean:
Without doubt, the June rescue of Abby Sunderland, 16-year-old sailor attempting to round the globe non-stop and unassisted from the Southern Ocean, is the most famous of all 2010 rescues. Abby's EPIRB sounded and radio contact was lost so that her situation was unknown to the world for a couple of days before a French fishing boat arrived at her position.
For the original story, for when she was feared lost, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=70608!click_here.
Inanna in the North Sea:
Inanna was a 49ft Bavaria class yacht crewed by three men who had set off from Stavanger in Norway intending to sail up to Denmark. However, when they were caught in a Force 9 gale which shredded their sails they ran before the gale, ending up Stronsay on the coastline of Scotland, where, lacking fuel, they sheltered in a bay until the weather cleared. The force of the gale was so strong that it ripped the windlass apart and the anchor was lost. Their second anchor would not hold and they were in danger of being ship wrecked.
The Scottish lifeboat crew who rescued them in horrendous conditions were honoured by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) of Britain for the heroism.
For the full story of the rescue, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=66157!click_here.
Siga Na Vanua in Fijian waters:
Barry Holloway of Taveuni in Fiji and a crew were sailing in their Hunter 41 Siga Na Vanua when they hit a reef trying to reach shelter during Cyclone Tomas in March 2010. As the yacht tumbled over the reef the skipper Barry Holloway sustained injuries and became trapped in the cabin of the yacht, which was caught on the reef and taking on water. It was feared that he would soon drown. In spite of the cyclone, the crew of a local tour boat, Tui Tai, which was at anchor riding out the cyclone and experiencing 125 knots received the distress call and immediately decided to help. Tui Tai captain Angus Hill dispatched a small tender boat with four crew members to attempt a rescue.
The Tui Tai crew battled the seas to reach and board the yacht. They ripped the doors down and pried open an escape route for the injured Holloway. They took he and his crew back to the Tui Tai where they stayed until the winds abated.
For the full story http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=67626!click_here.
Dawn Glory in the Indian Ocean:
The 12 metre catamaran Dawn Glory, on a voyage from Durban in South Africa to Fremantle had to be rescued in rough seas when just 36 nautical miles from its destination. Their rudder was broken and they could not make headway to windward in the rough seas.
The three Sea Rescue volunteers, Hank Rosendal, Wayne Wroth and Gavin O’Dea were from Bunbury in Western Australia. They battled four metre swells for thirteen hours to save the stricken crew on the catamaran.
The four rescued sailors, three men and one woman, who are based in Perth, first rested in a Bunbury hotel while the Dawn Glory underwent repairs at the Bunbury Sea Rescue base. They had been delivering the yacht from Durban to Fremantle for the new owner.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=68524!click_here.
Hollinsclough in the Southern Ocean south of the Atlantic Ocean:
In April a family of four was sailing the Oyster Hollinsclough on a leg between the South George and Cape Town late in the season. The seas were rough when they hit a 'growler', a submerged iceberg, and then their motor failed.
Carl Lomas and Tracey Worth with their teenage daughters Caitland and Margause, from Chelmerton in Derbyshire, had been sailing since they left Ipswich on the Hollinsclough in March 2007.
Their emergency signal was picked up by the Falmouth coastguard, relayed to the Falklands, and then on to HMS Clyde, which was fortunately 'only' three hundred miles away The Clyde sped to their GPS position, finding the yacht partially submerged and the family, having inflated their life raft, waiting on the sinking boat for rescue. However, in the temperature, which was around 5 degrees, they would have perished of cold had the Clyde not been in the vicinity.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=69701!click_here.
Oumh, in the North Sea:
In May 2009 Jonas and Ingrid Akerblom were sailing on their yacht Oumh from Denmark to the Firth of Forth on what was supposed to be the first leg of their 14 month trip when their 24-foot yacht lost its steering and got into difficulties about 20nm off the East Lothian coast of Scotland.
It seemed certain a tragedy was imminent when, amid a force eight gale and rough seas, Akerblom issued an urgent call for help on his VHF radio.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) coxswain Gary Fairbairn, from Blairgowrie in Scotland, who risked his life to save the couple from their stricken yacht amid treacherous conditions received a prestigious gallantry award for his efforts.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=70129!click_here.
Victoria in the Caribbean:
At the end of May Klaus and Martha, professional crew, were sailing the 48ft Swan Victoria from St Thomas in the U.S. Virgins to Panama when they hit a submerged object and sinking quickly. At the time they were positioned around 100 miles southwest of Puerto Rico when the collision occurred. After sending distress signals the pair took to their raft as the yacht sank.
A Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said that they had received a distress signal from the yacht and immediately commenced the search. A helicopter was able to locate the raft from the information they had received, and airlifted them to safety in Puerto Rico.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=70179!click_here.
Mea in the Atlantic:
Cedric Monnerat, sailing with one crew member on his yacht Mea, collided with a ship at night in rain and fog off Cape Hatteras on the east coast of the USA. The yacht was dismasted and holed. While the hole was above the waterline, in the rough seas water was still invading the yacht. Miraculously, not long after the collision, a ship, the Star of Ismene which later transpired was off its usual course, appeared on the horizon. Discovering that he could not manipulate Mea at all, Monnerat decided to fire rockets to the ship.
They were about 80 miles offshore when Captain Olivo Yuson of the Star of Ismene spotted the pinpoint of light through a telescope. He immediately slowed the Norwegian-flagged 198 metre ship and manoeuvred the ship through the three metre waves towards the light. After great difficulties in the rough seas, both crew members were brought up the side of the ship.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=74229!click_here.
Bonvivant in the Atlantic:
In October, 73-year-old solo sailor, Richard Steg, aboard his yacht Bonvivant was left drifting for days because he didn't have an EPIRB on board his yacht. He had been dismasted and lost power in his engine during some heavy weather. He had a VHF radio on board and was able to make a distress call which was picked up by a tug boat in the area. After losing complete power he was unable to communicate further and had to simply wait for fortune to provide an answer.
A search was mounted when the tug relayed the distress signal, but had to be abandoned overnight. It was resumed the next day and the yacht was located.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=76300!click_here.
Midori southwest of Fiji:
In November New Zelander Bill Young and three crew, on a leg from Fiji to Auckland, were rescued by a container ship after their yacht's rudder was ripped off by a massive freak wave, estimated to be between six and seven metres. Their yacht Midori was abandoned.
The crew of the Midori sent out a mayday call about 500 nautical miles southwest of Fiji, when the wave smashed their rudder. The sailors were drifting on the ocean for nearly two days, before they were finally picked up by the container ship Pacific Independence, thirty hours after the incident, after abandoning their yacht for the life raft.
By the time the container ship was able to rescue the four, the floor of their life raft had already collapsed and heavy seas made the rescue more difficult.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=76566!click_here.
Hilda south of New Zealand:
In December, it was a combination of rough weather of Fjordland on the southern coast of New Zealand and a broken motor which landed the Hilda, being sailed by New Zealanders Jinney Neale and Daryl Hewer, on the rocks at 11.35 at night. they had been attempting to sail from Dunedin on the east coast of the south island of New Zealand to Jackson on the west coast, which took them through what can be some of the most hostile waters and coastline on the planet.
Ms Neale scrambled up onto rocks and then clung to the cliff face, but Daryl Hewer managed to reach the beach. When rescuers arrived, because of the bad conditions they could not reach Ms Neale and had to wait until morning to even know if she had survived the night.
For the full story, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=78435!click_here.