The accidental activation of an EBIRB aboard the Transat Challenge yacht Team SpirIT caused an air and sea search on Saturday night

An air and sea search took place on Saturday night following the activation of an EBIRB on-board Team SpirIT, one of the six yachts competing in the Challenge Transat.

Thankfully, the incident was a false alarm and believed to be caused by accidental activation of an EBIRB.

At approximately 11.00 pm, Falmouth Coastguard picked up an EPIRB signal transmitting on the 243 MHz frequency. The Falmouth Coastguard made contact with Alex Johnson, skipper of BP Explorer who estimated the position of the EBIRB being that of the yacht Team SpirIT. BP Explorer, almost 40 miles away, was requested to divert to the position.

A Nimrod was launched from RAF Kinloss in Scotland and a container ship approximately two hours from the signal was also asked to divert.

During the night, Sat-C messages were sent to the fleet but Team SpirIT did not respond to these messages nor was the yacht contactable by satellite phone.

Finally at around 04.30 yesterday morning, a message arrived from Team SpirIT confirming all well on board as the Nimrod, codenamed Rescue 51, arrived on the scene, performing a low level pass.

Alistair Hackett, Duty Officer of Race Organisers Challenge Business praising the rescue services said “We are very grateful to the crew of the Nimrod and the Falmouth Coast Guard. We assisted in every way we could and all the skippers acted professionally and in particular Alex Johnson, who immediately stopped racing to divert to location of the incident”