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The Melbourne to Port Fairy yacht race is a 135nm race through Bass Strait and into the Southern Ocean - as the season turns from Summer to the Winter storms. In 2012, with the forecast for mild north winds and a SW change, the fleet set off - the yacht Inception, a Beneteau 50 amongst the fleet with many of the crew heading to their home town of Port Fairy. When an un-forecast second front hit the fleet on the evening of Good Friday, the fleet was in dis-array. With winds gusting beyond 65 knots and waves recorded at more than 14 m (45-50 feet) the fleet were in survival mode.
On board the yacht Inception, things took a rapid turn for the worst. With the loss of the life raft, and then the rapid development of a large source of flooding, the crew were forced into the malestrom, in the PFDs alone. Tethered together they armed their ACR ResQlink PLBs (and the boat EPIRB) - providing GPS locations to the rescue authorities and the rescue vessel - a fellow competitor. Without their PLBs, it is reasonable to expect that the crew would have been left to survive the storm until daylight some 6 hours later.
Thank you ACR!
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