A collective rescue operation involving two other vessels and a container ship saw the sinking yacht taken safely to shore
A desperate crew were able to save their sinking yacht using cement thanks to the help of two other vessels and a cargo ship.
The Koopmans 48, which had been travelling to Cairns, began taking on water at an alarming rate on 22 June while thousands of nautical miles from shore.
After a frantic search by the Stormvogel’s two crew, they discovered a leak around the centreboard of the vessel.
From what the crew could see, three or four bolts appeared to have broken and the centreboard was moving freely, with a flow rate estimated at around 20ltrs per minute.
In the midst of the drama, a mayday call was made to the skipper of a Bavaria 40, Oda, who they’d be travelling with, who in turn contacted a Nordhaven 47, Southern Star and rescue services.
Southern Star’s skipper wrote on their blog: “Peter had gone to bed and heard an unusual water noise. When he investigated he discovered they had water up to the floorboards, the bilges were full of water.
“Of course they did not know where it was coming from at first, so it must have been absolutely terrifying for them, in the middle of the Coral Sea between Vanuatu and Australia and no land anywhere near.”
Stormvogel’s crew were able to stabilise the moving centerboard with a piece of wood and later activated their EPIRB after speaking to the Australian and Norwegian rescue services.
Crews from the two nearby vessels were told not to board the sinking yacht due to unfavourable sea conditions and poor light.
After an hour Stormvogel’s skipper was able to control the ingress of water by mounting a new electrical pump in the bilge and were later informed by rescue services that a cargo ship was on its way.
All three crews maintained radio contact every two hours as they tried to think of ways to save the vessel from sinking.
When morning arrived, the skippers from Oda and Southern Star boarded Stormvogel to assess the damage.
After discussing how to save the yacht, the skippers settled on the idea of using cement to stabilise the centerboard.
Luckily for the crews, the container ship that came to their aid, just happened to have cement on board and was able to transfer the product via dinghy to the yacht.
With the situation now under control and after a bit of DIY, all three vessels were able to make the final push to Cairns and arrived safely in port on 28 June.
Image: Pendana blog