Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Sailors come up trumps - eight-day horror voyage

by Sail-World Round-up on 11 Jan 2012
Cheval de Mer crew - still smiling SW
Many leisure sailors admit to wondering how they would behave if they found themselves in a serious situation at sea, but at the same time, we don't really want to have to find out. Three New Zealand sailors, Pete Deakin, Bill Claque and Richard Hope did just that last week and came up trumps (See Sail-World http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/Four-days-adrift-but-no-thanks-to-rescue-helicopter/92691!story). Here now is the account of what happened on board during that tough journey.

The Yacht Cheval de Mer (Seahorse) was caught in gale force winds which shredded some of their sails, leaving them with only a working jury-rigged headsail. As chance would have it, their engine had already broken down. Skipper Pete Deakin told the NZ Herald that he 'never felt so near to becoming shipwrecked'.

Before the trouble began, the Cheval de Mer was being brought up the west coast of the North Island around North Cape to a berth at the eastern Bay of Plenty port of Ohope.

The trip started from Nelson with the 'best five-day weather forecast I'd seen for a long time', said Mr Deakin.

However, after the first day at sea, the vessel called in to New Plymouth to drop off a badly sea-sick crew member and the next night, 35nm off the Kaipara Coast, 'around midnight there was a bang and the engine stopped'.

Then an unforecast storm lasted three days and the most of the sails were ripped, except for a headsail.

They had a EPIRB on board, but, as their yacht was still sound and floating they did not let it off, hoping to make the coastline and ask for a tow into port. However, as their electricity ran short after a couple of days in pounding weather they ended up with only two options - to get into mobile range and phone their family, or activate their distress beacon.

Coming close to shore to try to make cellphone contact also had its problems. It was as the three struggled to sail their disabled vessel away from the boiling surf off the treacherous coast that Pete Deakin 'never felt so near to becoming shipwrecked.'

'I had serious doubts we were going to be here,' the Turangi man told the Herald after a rescue tow into the harbour yesterday ended the horror eight-day voyage from Nelson.

'I have never struck that before. I realised we were in trouble and needed to let people know what was happening. That was our only hope ... to let people know.'

But as the yacht rocked and rolled in angry 4m to 6m high seas, and Mr Deakin finally set off the yacht's emergency locator beacon, there came what seemed to the crew like a miracle.

A text appeared in Richard Hope's phone, which had had no reception for many days, from the 34-year-old's partner, Lydia Deakin, at their home in Wellington.

'How are you?' texted Lydia Deakin, who is also Peter's daughter.

Mr Hope: 'Not well. No sails. No engine. No electrics and seas rising.'

Miss Deakin: 'Are you serious?'

Mr Hope: 'Yes. Please dial 111.'

A rescue helicopter offered to take the men off the yacht, which would then have to be abandoned, but the seasoned sailors declined the offer and requested a tow instead.

'We said we wanted a tow into port and they said, 'Sorry boys, there is not going to be one tonight' and then he gave us a weather forecast for 40-knot winds ... 'so just hang on'.

'So we did. We set some sail and kept two-hour watches and just kept moving out to sea. Next day, no ship arrived to tow us but the helicopter came back and dropped us a small hand-held radio, sweets, buns and a Sunday paper.

'The pilot told us he was sorry that no one could get out to tow us and could we hang on a little longer.

'We said 'yep, but we would like a tow'.'

Mr Clague, a yachtie for 30 years, hurt his back when the yacht bucked in the high seas and he was thrown from one end of the cockpit to the other.

Mr Deakin, with 43 years at sea, said the wind blew so strongly the heavy wooden ketch was doing 7 knots with only the emergency jury rig set for steering away from the coast.

On Monday, the Maritime NZ rescue co-ordination centre asked the Silver Fern Shipping coastal tanker the Kakariki to stop by the yacht.

'They tried to take us in tow but the seas were too big and they had to leave us - another night of hoping for the best,' said Mr Clague.

Keeping the crew's spirits up was the prospect of a tow arranged for the next day with Shamrock Charters, based at the Kaipara port of Helensville.

Through Monday night, the yacht slowly went backwards and forwards outside the harbour entrance, coming to within 3nm of the shore.

Then at 9am yesterday, Rod Bridge and his powerful fishing boat Francie took the yacht in tow, braving what he called a 'a good sea' crossing the bar.

Mr Deakin said the Cheval de Mer, which he had owned for six years, had proved to be 'absolutely amazing' in the Tasman Sea storm.... and, in this day of too-easily abandoned boats, so were the crew!
.............
Did you like this article? If you are not a Sail-World subscriber already, did you know that you can keep up with all the news from the world of the cruising sailor with a weekly news hit? It's totally free, as all our income is from the advertisers.

Once you subscribe, all the non-racing news comes to you in one easy to read news magazine, right to your inbox. AND it's up to date, so you don't have to wait for the end of the month to find out what's going on. You can even subscribe a friend. http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/international/newsletter_subscribe.cfm!Click_here_now!

Insun - AC ProgramBarz Optics - Melanin LensesAncasta Botin Fast40 660x82

Related Articles

Doyle Sails announce new ownership and global expansion
Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announced their ownership of Doyle Internationa Doyle Sails one of the global leaders in high performance sails as well as having a reputation for being proven innovators with new technology, has announced their next bold move to drive the Doyle business forward. The leadership team headed by Mike Sanderson and supported by David Duff and Richard Bouzaid from Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announced their ownership of Doyle International
Posted on 22 Jun
The Bridge – Arriving into New York on the 1st July
The 345m Cunard flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will race some of the world’s fastest yachts from France to America. Two thousand seven hundred passengers will board this historical ocean liner to race against the world's fastest trimarans helmed by the worlds best skippers: Macif (François Gabart), Sodebo (Thomas Coville), Actual (Yves le Blévec), IDEC (Francis Joyon).
Posted on 21 Jun
Hokule'a makes it's way home after a three year worldwide voyage
Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Saturday morning at 9:30 am HST, June 17, 2017, Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Their tour included 150 port calls in 23 countries with 60,000 nautical miles shared between the two double-hulled sailing canoes.
Posted on 18 Jun
A Few Rays- Calculate how long your sunscreen lasts.
Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process. Exposure to the sun is a serious issue for all those who venture on the water. Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process.
Posted on 14 Jun
BoatUS looks at accuracy of 22 Years of hurricane season predictions
BoatUS Seaworthy Program, which helps BoatUS members avoid injuries and boat damage by analyzing insurance claims data With most 2017 storm forecasts now predicting average to above-average storm activity for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 – November 30), just how accurate are these predictions, and do boaters need to adjust their hurricane prep plans this year?
Posted on 13 Jun
Dismasted solo sailor Lisa to complete Antarctic Circumnavigation
Sydney- based solo sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair (32) will recommence her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica She has spent the past two months preparing Climate Action Now so that she can complete her circumnavigation, including the installation of a new mast and repairs to the hull and electrical and navigation systems sustained during her dramatic dismasting.
Posted on 11 Jun
Race for Water – A key player in fight against plastic pollution
Race for Water Foundation is drawing attention to the need for concerted action against the plastic pollution To mark World Oceans Day on June 8, 2017, the Race for Water Foundation is drawing attention to the need for concerted action against the plastic pollution that is swamping our oceans.
Posted on 7 Jun
BoatUS – NOAA National Charting Plan looks to the future
The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies. The plan also allows NOAA to focus attention on underserved waterways, such as resolving chart discrepancies in areas of importance to recreational boaters.
Posted on 1 Jun
See how your smart phone can help save your life
OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is available on Android as well as through App Store. OLAS, the man overboard location alert app from Exposure Lights is now available on Android as well as through the App Store.
Posted on 25 May
High water on the great lakes – Boom or bust for boaters?
Boaters can find that deeper water under the keel may open a range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation With Great Lakes water levels on the rise and expected to continue to increase into summer, recreational boaters could find that deeper water under the keel may open a whole new range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation.
Posted on 19 May