Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - GR

81-year-old Shady Lady lost to the deep between Indonesia and Darwin

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 30 Aug 2011
Shady Lady in happier days .. .

He had followed the route many times before, and he enjoyed the annual Darwin to Ambon Race and Rally just as much in 2011 in Shady Lady - but he never could have guessed how soon he was about to lose his precious 81-year-old boat.

When Peter Charles from Bundaberg, skippering the Lidgard Cutter yawl, arrived in Indonesia, he was delighted to accept a third prize in the cruising division, on behalf of Shady Lady and his crew, Judy O'Donoghue and Mark Clancy, also from Bundaberg. The prize was presented by the Head of Tourism Office of the Maluku Province, Ibu Florence

Things couldn't have been better. They had followed the rhumb line through the Arafura Sea to the Indonesian island of Sermata, then through the Banda Sea, passing close to the Island of Damar, and then on to Ambon.

The boat had had an impeccable history. In 1937 it won the Trans-Tasman and held the record for 12 years. It had also done a lot of Whitsunday rallies over the past 17 years, winning sometimes. However, the boat was new to Peter.

'I’ve only had the boat about a year and this will be my first major race on her,' he told race organisers before the start.

After enjoying Indonesia, the Shady Lady set off for the return journey to Darwin. Judy Donoghue was replaced by Catherine Clancy, Mark's wife, for the trip back. All was going well for a couple of days until one morning Mark Clancy headed into the galley to make a coffee - only to find water gushing in to the boat at an alarming rate.

Very quickly the heartbreaking decision had to be made to abandon the yacht and, within ten minutes, the three were in a dinghy watching Shady Lady sink.

'I couldn’t watch it,' Peter Charles told reporters later, 'I looked away and, when I looked back up, she was gone.

'After 81 years on top of the water,' he added wryly, 'trust Peter Charles to lose it.'

It took just 30 minutes for the Shady Lady to sink into the depths of the ocean, 290 nautical miles north of Darwin and to a depth of 600 metres.

The rapid descent of the yacht meant the crew members had only a few minutes to gather belongings including their passports, camera and their lucky rubber duck.

'We lost the trophy and money from the race,' Mr Charles said. 'We lost everything.'

It was shortly after 7.00 am on August 13 when the trio activated an EPIRB and spent almost four hours bobbing in the ocean before seeing their first sign of life – a Customs aircraft.

An air sea rescue plane arrived shortly after, doing circuits around the 2.6m-long dinghy until four hours later, when an oil rig support vessel, the Go Canopus, travelling from Singapore to Tahiti, arrived to rescue the crew.

During their eight-hour wait in the ocean, the trio had a brush with two sharks, one that kept swimming and another that smashed into the underside of the aluminium-bottomed dinghy before swimming away.

After their rescue, the three sailors spent several days aboard the Go Canopus, whose crew dropped them at Thursday Island.

Catherine Clancy, a novice sailor, observed later that she had had more excitement than she expected, but, 'We did have some fantastic days of sailing before the yacht sank – it was spectacular.'

Owing to their rapid escape from the yacht, it will probably never be known exactly what caused the demise of Shady Lady.

Despite the ordeal, Peter Charles and Mark Clancy are undaunted. They are already planning the next Darwin to Ambon Race and Rally.

Wildwind 2016 660x82upffront 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Advice for young Sailors
Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Interviewers talk with Dean Barker, Jimmy Spithill, Glenn Ashby, Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie and get their advice, plus how and when they started sailing.
Posted today at 12:23 pm
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA's AC50 well underway in Warkworth
Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand, Core Builders Composites, Warkworth, 40 minutes north of Auckland. The major components for the 15-meter platform, including the hulls and cross beams, have now been built.
Posted on 28 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA play catch up with Softbank Team Japan
Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats, claiming to be the first AC team to have achieved the move. Two days later Oracle Team USA claimed to have done the same.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
SoftBank Team Japan achieve first foiling tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 boat SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.
Posted on 26 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug