December 10, 2007
Two Irish yachts have each rescued other sailors in the mid Atlantic.
The Mayo-based polar exploration yacht Northabout saved two French sailors in a difficult mid-Atlantic rescue yesterday. The 14 metre aluminium yacht, best known for undertaking the first westward circumnavigation of the North Pole, was en route from the Canaries to Grenada with a crew of six.
It heard a radio distress call from the French yacht Nérée which had lost its steering gear in heavy weather and was sinking. The location of the incident was given as 15 degrees North and 46 degrees West, approximately 800 miles east of Barbados.
Northabout, skippered by Mayo man Jarlath Cunnane, diverted to the area and located the two French crew, a man and a woman, in their liferaft. In heavy swell, it took the Irish crew five attempts to pluck the pair from their raft. Northabout is expected in Grenada in about a week.
Blog by the French couple, Gilbert Brun and Marie Rose Haufman, is here. They were bound for Venezuela.
Northabout in the polar ice in 2005.
On Saturday morning, 8 December, the Tralee based Navillus, participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, also rescued sailors in peril.
A call from the UK Marine Rescue Coordination Centre at Falmouth initiated the ARC radio net to help rescue the crew of a yacht that had called a MAYDAY. A message was sent to the ARC fleet with an update on the position and situation of the yacht in trouble.
Individual calls were also made to ARC yachts likely to be in the vicinity and able to relay the distress call via VHF radio. ARC yachts Blue Spirit, Worldwide Traveller, Cat-man-do and Regina all responded, but it was ARC yacht Navillus (Brian O’Sullivan IRL) that was first on station.
A 31ft catamaran called Spam – not participating in the ARC – had been dismasted and subsequently holed earlier in the morning. Luckily for the three crew, Navillus, a Bavaria 50, picked up the MAYDAY and was able to assist. The crew were transferred using their liferaft, which was then slashed to sink it.
The dismasted catamaran, from the Scilly Isles, was then abandoned, sinking but still afloat, and an advisory message sent to all ARC yacht to keep clear of it. Navillus has now resumed course for St.Lucia with her unexpected guests safely aboard.
Bavaria 50, sistership to Navillus. Skipper Brian O’Sullivan is MD of O’Sullivan Boats, Tralee and chairman of the Irish Marine Federation.
Other Irish boats in the ARC include:
Safari of Howth, a Hallberg Rassey 42E, Ken & Carmel Kavanagh
Sabrina, a Beneteau Celebration 411, Kevin Heery
Mary P, a Grand Soleil 42, Neil Prendeville
Gull, a Beneteau Oceanis 423, Brendan Cahill
Fizz, a Bavaria 44, Ciaran Geoghegan
Dreamcatcher, a Beneteau First 47.7, Martin Bates
Blueflyer, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49, Hugh & Val Pilsworth.
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