Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

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.

T Clewring One DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

RS Aerocup - Another magic day at Lake Garda - Day 2
Per Christian continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves. Per Christian of Norway continued his domination with a string of firsts showing magical downwind speed through the waves.
Posted on 25 Sep
2016 Star Sailors League Finals – Count down to Nassau
The reigning Star World Champion, Miami's Augie Diaz (USA) will be competing in Nassau but is yet to announce his crew. As always the top 12 skippers in the SSL Ranking for the year are invited to challenge and join 13 VIPs sailors selected for the successes achieved in their sailing career.
Posted on 22 Sep
Southern Spars en route to Monaco – Stand QSE2
It’s been another big year for the NZ based company, there's lots of exciting things to talk about the Monaco Yacht Show It’s been another big year for the New Zealand based company, giving us lots of exciting things to talk about at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show like our two big projects Adix and Aquijo. Adix, the three-masted 65-metre Dykstra schooner, has been transformed by a rig refit by Southern Spars and Future Fibres.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - Ken Read reflects on the recent World Series - Toulon
Commentator Ken Read on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. North Sails President, Ken Read, doubles as a live commentator for the official TV feed from the America's Cup World Series. Here's his thoughts, from his blog on the North Sails website on the recently completed round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in Toulon, France. Read also looks ahead to the final round of the America's Cup World Series is Fukuoka, Japan and the strategies
Posted on 22 Sep
North Sails pays tribute to former owner Terry Kohler
Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come The North Sails Group is deeply saddened by the passing of Terry Kohler, owner of North Sails from 1984-2014. North Sails and all of its employees around the world would like to pass their condolences to the family Terry leaves behind, especially his wife Mary. Terry Kohler’s vision, leadership, and generosity will be felt within North Sails, and the sport for many years to come.
Posted on 22 Sep
America's Cup - CNN Mainsail goes inside the teams in Bermuda and UK
CNN goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes Double Olympic Gold medallist and presenter of the outstanding CNN Mainsail series, Shirley Robertson, goes inside four of the America's Cup teams in Bermuda and Portsmouth, UK for an insight into the design processes and angles being pursued by the teams. Then she goes on the water and sees the design teams and sailing teams working together.
Posted on 20 Sep
WIM Series moves on to the US
Next week will see the WIM Series midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA. Next week will see the Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) midway event, the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, USA.
Posted on 19 Sep
52fter Worlds - Another level of excellence
Quantum Racing kept up their amazingly high level of consistency to extend their overall lead to 13 points From a difficult, and at times confusing second day of racing at the 52 World Championship 2016 on the beautiful waters off Menorca, Quantum Racing kept up their amazingly high level of consistency to extend their overall lead to 13 points at the top of the high calibre 12-boat fleet.
Posted on 16 Sep
New Sailing World Cup strategy snub to Southern Hemisphere
Australian Sailing expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy/format for Sailing World Cup Australian Sailing has expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy and format for the Sailing World Cup released earlier this week.
Posted on 16 Sep
2016 Rolex Big Boat Series begins tomorrow
A record fleet of 127 boats has registered for the 52nd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. A record fleet of 127 boats has registered for the 52nd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. The regatta begins tomorrow and is hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay.
Posted on 15 Sep