Looking Back on 2012- 10 Most Memorable Rescues
by Nancy Knudsen on 2 Jan 2013
No sailor wants to be rescued - that is, wants to be in a position to need rescuing. The old adage of, 'You should step UP to be rescued' sends the strongest message that a good sailor never abandons a boat unless it is sinking beneath you. However, with more and more sailors taking to the high seas, the rescues continue to increase. Here are Sail-World's 10 Most Memorable Rescues of 2012 - click the links to read the original news reports:
Rescue of Liquid Vortex - went sailing in spite of a bad weather forecast SW
1. http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/Sail-training-crew-rescued-in-60knot-weather/92536!Liquid_Vortex (pictured above):
The year began in a dramatic fashion. A British sail-training crew of novice sailors had to be rescued when they ignored a weather report and went sailing.
Of seven crew, only one crew member was fit enough to assist with their rescue. 40ft Sail training vessel Liquid Vortex was caught in horrendous Force 11(56-63knot) conditions off the coast of Britain this week. With five crew severely seasick and one injured it was a tough way for the Royal National Lifesaving Institution (RNLI) to start their New Year.
This was a rescue refused, as three New Zealand sailors refused to give in and ended up coming up trumps after an eight-day horror journey.
A hardened sea-dog called Missy and her cruising sailor owner have lost their uninsured boat home near Australia's Cape York when their yacht Empress III started taking water in a trip from Port Moresby in New Guinea to Cairns. Unable to stop the flow they were finally forced to abandon it. They had lived on the boat for six years which for Missy was her whole life. Another crew member was also rescued.
Heroes of the rescue were the Rio Tinto ore carrier RRM Piiramu and its crew, who went to the rescue of the three mariners while on their way to Weipa on the west coast of Cape York.
One of the main positive reasons for studying incidents at sea and rescues is to discover what can be learned vicariously, but the following story of a rescue has an equally important reason - the recognition of the vital global role that AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) plays in modern rescues. Read this latest anecdote first:
The Amver participating cruise ship, Norwegian Star, rescued two sailors from their disabled sailboat 55 miles northwest of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba on Saturday, March 3, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard rescue authorities in Miami received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert for the 38 foot sailboat- Hokulani.
The significance of this rescue is the length of time this solo sailor had been carrying his Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) faithfully and dependably on his person.
He had been carrying his PLB since 2007 without ever needing it, but the day came... British solo sailing enthusiast, Richard Coles was wrenched from his boat while on the foredeck off the coast of Cornwall, but has lived to tell the story because in the water he was able to activate the personal locator beacon (PLB) attached to his body.
One of the most significant aspect of the rescues of 2012 was the number of cruising sailors who were rescued in remote areas thanks to the heroic actions of merchant ships who are members of AMVER. The following is an example:
AMVER (The Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue System) is at it again. Two Canadian sailors are safely aboard the Amver participating ship SMT Bontrup after requiring medical evacuation from their 34 foot sloop 260 miles northwest of Bermuda this week.
No EPIRB onboard meant that this sailing boat incident had all the hallmarks of disaster if it weren't for a lucky sighting by a crabbing boat, which raised the alarm.
It was in the early hours of the morning one day this week when a home-built Belgian yacht, Taunea, collided with a vessel around 30nm off the coast of Devon in the UK. The collision dismasted the yacht and left the solo sailor adrift with no rigging, engine or communications.
The rig had gone over the side in the collision and fouled the propeller, and when the mast fell it took the communications aerial with it. The sailor was left helpless in the English Channel's busy shipping lanes, in danger of another collision and a providing a navigational hazard for shipping. Ten hours passed before he was sighted by a crabbing boat, the Emma Jane, who initiated contact with the coastguard.
The EPIRB once again proved its worth. Seven French sailors whose catamaran capsized off Skye off the west coast of Scotland were rescued after an emergency beacon alerted the coastguard to their plight. The suddenness of the capsize meant that the crew did not have time to manually activate beacons.
Sometimes the rescuers are called, but, owing to good seamanship, are not needed. Staying cool when times are tough is the sign of a good sailor. The story is out about a catamaran which was 'missing' for more than a week in the Atlantic Ocean. The yacht went missing on 2nd June, when on a journey from Antigua in the Caribbean to Falmouth in the UK and had been out of radio contact.
Then there was the most tragic and dramatic of them all. The sinking of the sail training tall ship, the replica of Captain Bligh's ship, the Bounty. When the Bounty was caught in edge of a cyclone, the Captain, Robin Walbridge, and one other crew member were lost at sea, but the rest of the crew members had taken to life rafts and, thanks to rescuers, survived.
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