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Auckland On Water Boat Show

Yacht with steering SOS aids Rowers with food SOS in the Atlantic

by Des Ryan on 9 Feb 2011
Papa Delta - food supplies washed away by a large wave in the Atlantic .. .
Call it serendipity or sychronicity, sometimes things happen for a reason. When the yacht White Whisper found their steerage had collapsed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, they thought they should let someone know they were disabled but continuing under a jury rig to their destination of Antigua. As they radioed Falmouth Coastguard, however, they didn't know they would soon be the life- savers.

Also in the middle of the vast Atlantic, 800 miles from the Canary Island, two rowers, brothers Chris and Matthew Cleghorn, who were crossing the Atlantic to raise money for research in Parkinson's disease, were hit by a freak wave. The boat recovered, but they found they had lost most of the food to the salt water drenching, and did not have enough to reach Antigua, where they were headed.

Their plight was conveyed to the world by Tom Cleghorn, their father, who became suspicious following email and telephone conversations. 'I had a funny feeling that something was wrong. When I found out they were rationing their food I decided we needed to do something about it.' He contacted Falmouth Coastguard.

With Falmouth Coastguard coordinating, the two long range incidents came together, to provide a successful conclusion for one of them, with the supply of food to the rowers on ‘Papa Delta’ from the crew of the yacht ‘White Whisper’.

Ian Guy, Watch Manager, Falmouth Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, says: 'The yacht was several hundred miles behind the rowers but was following roughly the same track. As the yacht was going faster than the rowers we requested that they may be able to assist the rowers, by supplying them with food. At 9pm this evening (Tuesday) the yacht successfully met up with the rowers and passed them enough food to complete their trip.

'We continue to monitor the progress of the two vessels who are now both heading for Antigua.'

Everyone loves a Happy Ending.
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