Two yachtsmen rescued from a liferaft by ARC crew - and other dramas


A week out from the Canary Islands and there have been plenty of dramas on the ARC rally. There’s been a broken boom, a woman on a Volvo 60 was badly scalded when the boat gybed accidentally and was evacuated on to a merchant ship and two yachts stood by a refugee vessel (ie illegal immigrants) on its way to the Canaries until relieved by the Spanish authorities.

Most seriously, yesterday Philip Wright and the crew of Swan 48 GiGi rescued two crew of a non-ARC yacht after they broadcast a Mayday. According to the press release:

‘At approximately 12:30UTC on Saturday 1 December at position 18.59N 32.25W, GiGi picked up a Mayday call from yacht Barbary Duck (not participating in the ARC), advising that the crew were in a liferaft. GiGi, competing in the RORC IRC Racing Division, immediately stopped racing to alter course and assist the crew of the British Westerly Corsair, approximately half a nautical mile from them (over 600 nautical miles north-west of the Cape Verdes).

‘Once on station, the two crewmembers on Barbary Duck, double-handers John and Francis Weller, were safely brought on board. The Westerly, whose crew had already been in contact with MRCC Falmouth, had suffered broken deck chainplates and was in danger of dismasting.

‘Without a functioning engine, the crew took the precaution of abandoning their yacht, which has been left afloat, but with navigation lights burning.’