Stricken British Westerly abandoned

For the second time in two days, a yacht participating in the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – ARC 2007 – en route from Gran Canaria to St.Lucia, has been involved in a rescue at sea. Following yesterday’s rescue of migrants from the open ocean, today it was the turn of British yacht GiGi – a Swan 48, owned and sailed by Philip Wright (from Etton, UK) to rescue fellow sailors.

At approximately 12:30UTC today (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 northwest of the Cape Verdes, heading southwest towards St.Lucia, some 1650 nm away).

Once on station, the two crew members on Barbary Duck, double-handers John and Francis Weller, were safely brought on board. The smaller Westerly, whose crew had already been in contact with MRCC Falmouth, had suffered broken deck chain-plates 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.

GiGi has now resumed racing and is on course once more for St.Lucia with her two unexpected but welcomed guests onboard.

In other ARC news, yacht Kaiso (GBR), a Sovereign 400 skippered by Sean Fuller, has diverted to the Cape Verde Islands to carry out repairs, and three of the 235 starters still remain in Gran Canaria with technical problems. Most other ARC yachts continue to experience a typical crossing with good trade winds conditions on the 2,700nm route. Since the start on 25 November, winds have been consistently around 20 knots from the north-east, with scattered rain showers – ideal trade wind conditions.