Atlantic Rally for Cruiser yachts respond to MAYDAY

Sunday, 10 December 2006

There was further drama yesterday evening (Saturday 9 December) when ARC yachts
Tracker My Way and Om Shanti picked up a MAYDAY from a Belgian yacht, Allegria, that is not participating in the ARC, at position 14.58N 47.49W. One of the double-handed crew on Allegria had suffered a breakdown and jumped over board. In the dark, and with an 8ft-10ft swell running, yachts Tracker My Way, Macnoon and Sunrise began a search, as well as co-ordinating communications with MRCC's Falmouth (UK) and Fort de France (Martinique).

Sunrise also transferred two crew to Allegria to help sail the yacht. After approximately 4 hours, the casualty, a 30-year old Belgian male was recovered onboard the Allegria. Radio medical advice was provided by a doctor sailing onboard ARC yacht Phaedrus, and communication relays using SSB radio via Macnoon and Galateia. Owing to the worsening medical condition of the casualty, an urgent request for medical evacuation was called, and at 1430UTC today (Sunday 10th December), the casualty was transferred to the British warship HMS Lancaster. All yachts involved have now been stood down by the controlling MRCC's and have resumed course to St.Lucia.

A handy head for heights

Meanwhile, the ARC radio net was also instrumental in helping Australian yacht Mary Constance following a broken shroud yesterday. ARC yachts Blackwattle and Messenger rendezvoused with the Trintella 42, to transfer rigging wire and tools. Rushing to complete the repairs before darkness, the skipper of Mary Constance, Mike Franklin, had to spend several hours up the mast in very difficult conditions with a big swell running and ENE 25 knots blowing across the deck. With the repairs complete, the three yachts are now sailing in company towards St.Lucia.

Editors note:

A call of 'pan-pan' means that there is an emergency on board a vessel, but that, for the time being at least, there is no immediate danger to anyone's life or to the vessel itself. This is distinct from a Mayday call, which means that there is imminent danger to life or to the continued viability of the vessel itself. Thus 'pan-pan' will inform potential rescuers (including emergency services and other craft in the area) that a safety problem exists whereas 'mayday' will call upon them to drop all other activities and immediately instigate a rescue attempt.

Peta Stuart-Hunt

Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 December 2006 )