Crew of Arnolf evacuated onto Be-Bop-A-Lula and ARC yachts assist with man over board rescue 11/12/06

It has been 24 hours of dramatic activity for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) with two mid-Atlantic rescues involving yachts taking part in the annual cruising event from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Rodney Bay St Lucia.

Double-handed crew Paul Bourgie (71) and Jacques Clermont (65) both from France, were successfully evacuated at 0600 UTC yesterday (10 December) from their Bavaria 35 Arnolf at approximate position 19°45’N 34°43’W. The rescue took place some 48 hours after losing their rudder in a collision with a submerged object, possibly a whale. The ARC yacht Be-Bop-A-Lula, which had reached their position during the night, stood-by until daylight before taking the two French sailors aboard.

Be-Bop-A-Lula’s skipper, Trevor Goodson, described his relief at the successful outcome: “Bebop stood by Arnolf during the night and started the transfer at 0600. The seas and weather were atrocious and we were all very glad when they were safely aboard.”

Luckily, Trevor, who is sailing double-handed with his wife Norma on their Bavaria 47, had delayed leaving Las Palmas by four days for health reasons, so was some 200nm behind the smaller yacht, when Arnolf called their Pan-Pan on Friday evening.

Paul and Jacques, tried for 48 hours to control their yacht using emergency rudders which broke and trailing drogues which failed. After becoming exhausted, and increasingly battered by the vicious swell, they decided it would not be possible to save their yacht. Unable to tow them in these conditions, meant that the only option open to Trevor and Norma was an evacuation to the larger Bavaria Be-Bop-A-Lula .

ARC yachts respond to Mayday
There was further drama on Saturday evening 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 four 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 yesterday 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.