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Abandoned Wolfhound found drifting, mast intact, two months later

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 15 Apr 2013
The sailing vessel Wolfhound is seen here approximately 80 miles north of Bermuda in the FLIR camera of a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., Feb. 9, 2013. The crew of the Wolfhound at set off their emergency position-indicating radio beacon when their vessel became distressed in rough weather. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd class Sarah Bachman and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jerimiah Strombeck SW
According to AMVER the winds were fifty knots, the seas were 20ft and the visibility was almost nil. The EPIRB was active, but unregistered. It took a brave crew in pitch dark early in the morning in a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules to find the yacht. Back in the control room, no-one was dozing.

After a gruelling six hours of rescuers' time, two merchant vessels who had been diverted from their courses reached the distressed sailing boat and took the four crew on board in appalling conditions. But the crew were only frightened - their yacht was the safest place they could have been that night.


Because the storm-battered Irish yacht which prompted the US Coast Guard rescue mission south of Bermuda in February did not sink in the rough seas which caused its crew to abandon the vessel.

The 48ft yacht Wolfhound — which was assumed to have sunk — adrift approximately 800 nautical miles south east of Bermuda, according to Bernews. We were not allowed to reproduce the photo of the yacht, but you can see it by https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Wolfhound+drifting+Swan+48&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=txBvUYbnA8WmkgXO94GADA&biw=1052&bih=794&sei=vBBvUcX_NtHakgWGhIC4AQ#imgrc=KCu5IuVI68KegM%3A%3BrQUnKlKQkyhKlM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcloudfront.bernews.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2013%252F04%252Fwolfhoundsurvives.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fbernews.com%252F2013%252F04%252Fstorm-battered-irish-yacht-spotted-adrift%252F%3B525%3B700!clicking_here.

'The 48–foot Swan class sloop is still very much afloat, mast and rigging more or less intact with mainsail still bent on to her boom and floating along in much more benign conditions than when previously photographed by her abandoning crew,' reported 'Afloat.'

Four Irish yachtsmen were rescued from the vessel by cargo ship after an international rescue mission involving the US Coast Guard on February 2, some 70–miles north of Bermuda.

The yacht suffered had both power and engine failures amid stormy conditions off the northeastern United States. But the boat was sound, and the mast hasn't even today come down. Little did they realise it, but they could have stayed onboard and sailed their boat to safety when the storm was over.

The sailors, at the time, were described as 'experienced' sailors and members of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, but it is probable that their experience was in controlled racing situations. Experienced cruising sailors would have known that, if the boat is sound, the safest place to be is onboard. The boat was new, recently purchased, when the four lawyers and businessmen set off from Connecticut in the US heading for Bermuda and then Antigua.

But about 400 miles off the Delaware coast the storm struck and the boat 'lost battery power and suffered mechanical failure' as weather conditions worsened.

A Bermuda coastguard spokesman said the yacht suffered two 'knock-downs' so they put out a distress call. The rescued yachtsmen reported at the time that the boat had sunk soon after their rescue. Their EPIRB had not been registered, making their rescue more difficult, according to the AMVER report of the incident.
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