After SOS, how to keep up morale? Rescued sailors tell.
by IOL/Sail-World Cruising on 6 Nov 2011
You're on the high seas with an insurmountable problem. You've called the rescue authorities. Now you're waiting for help. While we all hope that will never happen to us, there's the question: What do you do to keep up morale?
Tholile’s misadventure - being towed in; crew glad to be home; Kayleen is welcomed by Mum .. .
This is just the situation that the yacht crew of Tholile, drifting in the southern ocean in September, found themselves in. Their woes were many.
..The yacht, sailing from Durban to Mauritius, had suffered a rope fouled around one propellor rendering one of her two motors unusable.
..Her sails were torn.
..Her second motor had overheated.
..She had drifted far south as a result of a 25 knot South Easterly wind and caught in the Southward flowing Agulhas currents.
..The swells were an uncomfortable 4 metres.
..The yacht had also sprung a leak which the crew had apparently managed to subsequently stem.
..Three of the crew were suffering from dehydration as a result of prolonged sea sickness (reportedly having been sea sick for approximately 26 hours).
So they should not have been a happy crew. However, the only woman aboard the stricken yacht said she kept cracking jokes to lift the spirits of her five colleagues while they waited for rescue.
Relieved to be back on dry land, Kaylee Featherstone, 20, said she tried to keep the humour flowing to distract her colleagues from the ordeal, despite suffering from sea sickness.
She said: 'I wanted all of us to laugh because there was nothing else we could do while waiting for help. I knew that if one of us panicked, we would all panic, but fortunately that did not happen.
'We are so grateful to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) for all the help. I have sailed many times before and it was the first time that I experienced being towed in,' Featherstone said.
They had planned to sail in the direction of Port Elizabeth, on their way to Mauritius for a three-week stay.
Speaking at the Point Yacht Club later, Challis said they were relieved to get back. He also said they were very grateful to the NSRI for its help, saying the rescue service had done a great job.
Challis said they had been making steady progress until they began experiencing difficulty. 'We were experiencing winds of between 30 and 35 knots and the waves had grown from 1.5m to 4m, big enough to break the boat,' he said.
Challis said a leak had developed and they had decided to return to Durban to get it checked before proceeding further.
That’s when the engines had failed, Challis said. The sails were also torn by the strong winds.
Challis who had been sailing for 12 years, said Breet, who was sailing for the first time, had been very brave and had at some point jumped into the water to release ropes that had become snagged.
'He was a hero. Also Kaylee who kept us going with her great sense of humour. All that kept us really calm.'
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