Posted on May 3, 2018 by Thomas
I left Easter Island solo on my 32′ Westsail cutter. I was heading for Cape Horn 2,500 miles distant. Two days out a storm hit causing me to heave all night. The next day I noticed the port boomkin stay was broken and swinging loose. This stay is one of the two that hold the boomkin down to keep the back-stay tight. I was able to rig some chain and a turnbuckle to replace the broken stay. Two days later a second storm hit. The entire boomkin with the attached stern pulpit, the wind vane steering, wind generator, GPS and AIS antennas and auto helm came forward and almost hit me in the cockpit. the chain repair held but the starboard boomkin stay – broke at the swage fitting. This caused this tangled mess of stainless steel tubing to hang over the port side. I tied this tubing to keep it from falling off the boat. I looked up and saw the top of the mast moving from side to side as the loose backstay no longer supported it I took down the mainsail and lashed it to the boom. while doing this I noticed the starboard aft lower shroud began to unravel, wire by wire, as each broke off at the swage fitting. i put on the running back-stays to hold the mast up. The boomkin and stainless was jammed against the rudder and tiller so the boat could no longer be steered. i worked for one day trying to free the tiller but could not. because the rudder was locked at a sharp angle and could not be freed, the boat drifted sideways to the wind and waves. i finally decided the boat was no longer seaworthy. i triggered the EPIRB and on the third day a plane appeared, sent by Chilean Navy. On the fifth day a Japanese freighter appeared and pulled me on a rope 51 feet to the deck.. My boat was left drifting.
Words of wisdom
EPIRB is a decision that shouldn’t be second guessed. They save lives!
Thank you note
Thank you ACR!