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On 21st of May approximately 350 miles north east of the Azores at 0930, the vessel came into contact with a large object. At the time I was at the chart table and felt the boat move a little. A few seconds later I was thrown sideways across the saloon. I went to the cockpit to see the large tail fluke of a whale close to the starboard quarter. The tail fluke was a vertical and approximately 3+ m across. I thought it was about to hit the rudder. Weather conditions were light, 16knt winds with a 2 m swell. We were running with genoa and staysail both poled out. Myself and two crew did a full damage inspection of the rudder, keel and hull but found no damage and no water ingress. We felt we were lucky.
At 0230 the following day I finished my watch and went to bed. Whilst in my bunk I could hear strange structural noises as the boat rolled to Stbd. I began to inspect the boat for a second time and upon lifting the access floor to the keel well I could smell styrene fumes. Using the torch I was able to see cracks in the GRP hull structure and gradually over the next eight hours these became worse and we could see the keel box flexing and the whole keel plate moving in and orbital manner.
The boat was taking in water and whilst the pumps were coping, the structural integrity was causing me concern. I have diving gear onboard but it was too rough to dive. We waited until dawn and used a waterproof camera but it was inconclusive. The wind was forecast to increase, and I had to make the decision whether the boat would survive the 4 day journey to the Azores or 6 days to Portugal. At some time, we would have had head winds both ways. I activated the ACR Epirb and our position was relayed to a ship 100 miles away. Water was up to the cabin sole when we abandoned and the amount of movement of the hull structure greater. We were rescued by the bulk carrier "MV Justice" for which we are grateful and sadly had to let Destiny sink to the bottom.
Thank you ACR!
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