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I was part of a 4 person crew, including the owner of a 48 ft semi-custom German Frers designed sailing yacht that was taking the boat from Hobart Tasmania to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. On Sunday (23 March 2014) evening at 8 pm, approximately 26 nautical miles south of Gabo Island, off the New South Wales and Victoria coasts of Australia, we discovered that the yacht was taking on water.
By 8:30 pm we were still unable to locate the leak or stem the flow. The pumps were being overwhelmed. Radio requests for assistance were not being responded to. The owner made the decision that we would need to prepare in case we needed to abandon the yacht and we set off our our EPIRBs. The owner and myself were both carrying ACR ResQLink+ buoyant Perrsonal Locator Beacons. We lowered the mainsail and readied the Life Raft and the tethered the yacht's emergency overboard bag and flares on deck ready to stow on the life raft if we had to deploy it. We continued to pump and search for the source of the water incursion and tried to send out a Mayday call on the yacht's HF radio.
At 9 pm the owner made the decision to deploy the life raft. Once the raft inflated, the emergency bag, flares, and extra water were thrown into the life raft and secured. At 9:10 pm all four persons entered the life raft with the yacht's EPIRB, and at 9:15 pm the yacht's EPIRB was activated and the tether to the yacht was cut. The life raft drifted away from the yacht quickly and we deployed a sea anchor. At 2 am Monday morning, a Victoria Water Police launch arrived and by 2:15 am all 4 persons from the yacht were taken safely off the life raft onto the Police Launch. We subsequently learnt that our Personal Location Beacons' signals had been picked up by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and within minutes of us activating them a search and rescue operation was launched.
Thank you ACR!
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