New South Wales, Australia
Posted on May 2, 2018 by Graeme
I was the skipper of a 48 ft semi-custom German Frers designed sailing yacht with a crew of 4 persons, 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 at about 7:30 pm on a dark and rainy evening.
By 8:00 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. I made the decision that we would need to prepare in case we needed to abandon the yacht and we set off our our EPIRBs. Both one of the crew and myself were carrying ACR ResQLink+ buoyant Personal Locator Beacons. I set off my ACR resQlink+ PLB first at and that was followed by the other crewmember’s ResQlink. We had 2 other EPIRBS which we let off sequentially.
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.
I 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. I also organized the inflatable dinghy to be tied to the liferaft.
At 9:00 pm all four persons entered the life raft with the yacht’s EPIRB, and at 9:00pm the yacht’s EPIRB was activated and the tether to the yacht was cut.
The life raft drifted away from the yacht quickly..
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.
Victorian Water Police Report
Victoria Water Police report – 48 ft. sailing yacht returning to Sydney from Hobart – 4 people on board. – 8 pm Sunday evening (23 march 2014) – 26 nautical miles south of Gabo Island off the New South Wales and Victoria coasts of Australia, discovered the yacht was taking on water. – unable to stop the boat taking on water – pumps overwhelmed. – no response to radio request for assistance. – 8:30pm decision made to prepare for the possibility of having to leave the yacht. Sails lowered, my ACR ResQLink+ PBL and one other PBL activated, Life Raft readied, yacht’s emergency bag and flares organised and tethered on deck. – continue pumping and attempting to find leak as well as sending out radio mayday. – 9pm decision made to deploy life raft – inflated and tethered to yacht and emergency bag, flares and extra water thrown into the life raft and secured. – 9:10pm all four members of the yacht’s crew entered the life raft. – 9:15pm life raft cut away from the yacht and yacht’s EPIRP activated. – approximately 11pm aircraft heard overhead and signal flare set off. – approximately 12:30am Monday morning, a large freighter comes within hailing distance and confirms the number on board the life raft and then stands by. – 2:15am Victoria WaterPolice vessel arrives and the life raft is evacuated. All crew members of the yacht were saved. – article about the incident was covered in the Hobart Mercury newspaper on Tuesday the 25th of March. “FOUR men in their 60s were dramatically rescued after their yacht sank in Bass Strait early yesterday morning. The four men, including Tasmanian Harry Maltby, were on board the 14m yacht Zephya when she started taking on water. Victorian Water Police acting Sergeant Matthew Henderson said the boat’s pumps could not keep up with the inundation and the men set off their EPIRBS in quick succession before abandoning ship for a life raft at 8.30pm on Sunday. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra sent a Dornier aircraft to the source of the beacons, which it reached 40 nautical miles north of Mallacoota at 2.15am. The men let off flares to signal the plane and were rescued by Victorian Water Police. The sailors were treated by ambulance on land for hypothermia and one was taken to Eden hospital in NSW with a suspected fractured arm. Sgt Henderson said the men made the right decision to abandon ship. “If a vessel looks like sinking, it’s always good to get the life raft ready,” Sgt Henderson said.”
Words of wisdom
I 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.
Thank you note
Thank you ACR!
New South Wales, Australia
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