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Shipwrecked sailor rescues Jack Russell, forgets wife

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 14 Aug 2013
Sad Boundless, with Rosie the Jack Russell and her devoted owner Graham Anley .. .
There are lots of 'maybe's' in the story, but it certainly has the sailing world laughing. A South African sailor has become a mini-celebrity in a way he probably doesn't want, after rescuing his Jack Russell from his stricken sailing boat, but forgetting his wife. (He went back later for her.)

Graham and Sheryl Anley were on a three-month tour on their 36ft ketch, Boundless, around the shores of South Africa when they hit rough waters near East London, battling waves of up to seven metres. Losing the battle finally, the they ran aground on a reef off one of the country's most dangerous stretches of ocean along the Transkei coast.

Geoff McGregor, National Sea Rescue Institute North London station commander, said: 'As the incident happened Graham sent a Mayday radio distress call and activated the EPIRB but they were immediately forced to abandon ship.

He grabbed his beloved nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Rosie, which was wearing a specially made dog life jacket with emergency strobe lighting, and swam her to shore.

Hopefully, for the sake of the marriage, it was only then that he noticed that his wife was still at the boat and hadn't swum ashore with him, her tether caught on the steering gear as she left the boat.

Mr McGregor didn't make it any clearer, probably giving rise the world-wide hilarity. 'He first swam Rosie ashore safely before returning for his wife, whose safety line had snagged on the steering gear.'

Once all three were safely on shore, Mr Anley, who is himself a sea rescue volunteer with the NSRI, used his mobile phone to raise the alarm. He later told South Africa’s News24 it was 'humbling to have the shoe on the other foot and need rescuing'. One wonders whether Mrs Anley also did some 'humbling' of her own.

A rescue helicopter airlifted the couple and their dog to a nearby sea rescue base.

Apparently the relationship has weathered both the incident and the humour of the situation, as Mr and Mrs Anley are planning to salvage what they can from their marooned ketch. They will 'return to the scene and take a few days to assess the situation.'

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