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ARC 2021: Yacht Charlotte Jane III abandoned after catastrophic steering failure

by World Cruising Club 1 Dec 2021 14:12 PST 1 December 2021
ARC Rally © James Mitchell

The five-man British crew of Charlotte Jane III were evacuated onto another ARC yacht today (01 December) after a catastrophic steering failure left the vessel disabled.

Skipper Paul Hutley had raised concerns during the night of 30/11 > 01/12 after the yacht's starboard side steering on the twin-wheel Hanse 588 broke. The mechanical linkage failed, and the steering quadrant came adrift from the baseplate shearing the fixing screws. With difficulty steering in the weather and sea conditions overnight, the crew deployed a drogue to slow the yacht down and stabilise their position. ARC yacht Polygala stood-by over-night to assist if needed.

Around 09:00UTC today, a MAYDAY was called by Skipper Paul, when the port steering control also failed, causing damage to the emergency steering, and leaving the yacht unable to steer. Winds were reported as gusting Force 7 with swells around 4m.

ARC yachts Magic Dragon, JK Sail and Polygala were on station to assist, and due to the local conditions, it was agreed to transfer the crew members from Charlotte Jane III over to Magic Dragon, using the former's liferaft. The transfer of the five crew to Magic Dragon was successfully completed by 11:30UTC. All five crew are now on Magic Dragon for passage to Saint Lucia.

JK Sail's attempt to transfer extra water to Magic Dragon was abandoned due to the prevailing weather conditions in the area at the time.

Polygala stood by overnight and throughout the transfer process.

The position at time of abandonment was: 17 49.26N 036 12.24W at 11:30UTC 01 Dec 2021

The Charlotte Jane III continues to be tracked via the on-board YB tracker with positions relayed to other ARC yachts in the area and to MRCC Ponta Delgada, the controlling SAR station.

World Cruising Club would like to thank the crews of all the yachts involved in the safe evacuation of the crew of Charlotte Jane III.

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