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Old 24-12-2016, 19:40   #1
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Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Hi all and merry Christmas
Ok this is a long shot but I'll try it!
First I need to try and fill you in on what happened.

On the 4th of December we set off from Tenerife in our 53 yacht with a crew of 5. Myself, my wife, our 2 children 7 & 9 and my step father in law.
Like most we struggled the first week with light winds down to 20 30. The second week the trades blew a steady 20-30 knots which meant we made up for the time lost from the first week. 15 days in and all was looking good for an arrival in Barbados on the eve of the 21st. Giving us a few days to prep for Christmas, which the kids were super excited about. We also have friends staying in Barbados who's children couldn't wait for us to arrive so we could all go surfing on Christmas Day together.

At 1830 on the 19th we were cruising along at 8-12 knots with a poled out Genoa, when we heard a horrible crunching sound, suddenly the boat slewed around 90 degrees with the auto helm alarm sounding. My initial thoughts were that the auto pilot had disconnected from the rudder post, but when I tried turning the wheel and not getting any response. My heart sank as I thought I'd lost the actual rudder. We quickly furled in the Genoa, then I donned my dive mask and jumped off the stern with a dive torch to take a look. I took one look under the stern and saw that the rudder post and frame work were still intact but the actual grp had completely delaminated and had torn off. Nightmare!!

So now we're broad side on to 3-5 mt swell and 30 knt winds, not good. Over the next 6 hours We made many attempts at trying to head back down wind, I made a temporary rudder with the spinnaker pole and timber planks. With the wind and the swell nothing worked, we tried to point into wind to make it more comfortable, but she would only sit 90 degrees to wind and swell.
So rolling badly and very close to numerous knock downs, my wife was feeling the situation wasn't safe enough for the kids and she wanted to get them off the boat, so she called Falmouth Coastguard on the sat phone for assistance.
In the early hours we had a 190m cargo vessel on scene to assist. They wanted to give us a Lee and throw lines down then pull us alongside. Even on their Lee side with the swell and them rolling made the situation far too dangerous to attempt. I could see it all going horribly wrong, and every time they came around to fire lines at us, I had to use my engine to get out of their way. The language barrier between the cargo ship captain and myself made it difficult to communicate clearly. He was trying his hardest to get close and help, but all I was thinking was if we're alongside and he rolls on us or my spreaders collided with his hull. It would all end disastrously.

The coastguard then re routed another cargo vessel to come and assist. When it was daylight and we were waiting for them to arrive I pulled down the stainless pole that supports our radar dome on the stern, I bolted 2 floor boards which I glued and screwed together to the pole to make another temporary rudder. We couldn't find a way of securely fixing it to the transom though and with the swell bouncing us around it just wouldn't work properly. When the second cargo vessel arrived later in the morning it turned out to be 180m, so we went through exactly the same scenario as we had before, this was meant to be an easier transfer but the dangers were exactly the same.
So after another stressful day of having a 180m cargo vessel bearing down on us and firing lines at us, all attempts failing we were no closer to disembarking my now very fraught crew, the kids were very seasick after 24 hours of horrific rolling and sliding sideways down waves. None of us had slept or eaten properly.
At the end of day 2 the coastguard informed us that another sailing vessel was within 80nm of our position and they were turning around to come to our assistance.
My plan all along was to safely disembark my wife, kids and father in law. I was going to stay onboard and try and drift in on the boat nearer to land then try and sort a tow out.
Whilst we were awaiting the arrival of the rescue yacht the 2 cargo vessels stayed close by us to keep a safe eye on us, I'm very grateful for their patience.

So on the 3rd night the yacht arrived, we all felt that attempting the transfer in the dark wouldn't be a good idea, so we waited for sunrise.
After another very uncomfortable night the weather was forecast to ease off in the morning. As the sun rose the wind and the swell was still present with wind gusting to 28knts and a 2-4 m swell. Launching the other yachts dinghy was out of the question, the only safe way we saw was to send my family across in a life raft.
They all took a rucksack each then I loaded them up in the life raft and cast them off for the other yacht to pick them up. A very emotional moment I can tell you.

So now alone on the boat I tried everything to get her to point down wind. With going full astern trying for the prop walk to turn me before pulling the sails up and trying to goose wing down wind. I thought if I could just get going down wind then try and steer with the drouges I had out of the stern, all would be ok. My god I tried everything and in the end the main sheet snapped, one of the Genoa sheets snapped and got caught in the prop. Everything I tried, she just kept spinning back and sitting broadside on.

With my family now safely onboard the other yacht they sat close by as I kept trying.
I had now spent 60 sleepless hours trying everything I could and I could envisage something really bad happening to me if I was left alone out there. With the boom now swinging around as I rode over the swells and the wind showing no sign of easing off, I made the hardest decision of my life and decided to abandon and join my family.

I left the drouges trailing from the stern, I also left the engine running on tick over to power the batteries to keep the AIS switched on.

Leaving my boat was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, all the years of planning for this trip, all the personal belongings we had to leave onboard, all the children's Christmas presents. It breaks my heart just writing this. I just hoping she's still afloat or else it'll all be lost forever.

The crew of the yacht that rescued us were amazing, we were really looked after and brought safely to Martinique. I don't really want to mention any names at the moment without asking permission first.

So my intention now is to try and recover my yacht, bring it back in for repair and carry on with our dream trip. After all of our hard work the past few years and the prep I really don't want us to have to go home.

I'd like to add that Falmouth, Solent and Fort de France coastguard stations were amazing throughout the whole ordeal.

So now for the big ask!!!!!

I'm after someone to help me. I'm looking to recover my abandoned yacht somewhere NW of Barbados. I have recent AIS fixes and sightings plotted and I've calculated the drift rate and direction.
Last fix was showing a NW drift heading for Antigua direction, I'm happy to fly up to Antigua a set off from there.

I'm reckoning it'll be a 2 day sail or motor out to the last known position, drop me off onboard with a few essentials to fix a temporary rudder then sail home.
Or someone with a power boat/ fishing boat to maybe tow me.
Or if anybody knows anyone that could help us in any way. Please get in touch.

I'm willing to pay cash if someone can help me out.
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Old 24-12-2016, 19:51   #2
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Holy smoke, what an ordeal. I cannot help, sadly, but maybe someone else here can assist. This is a massive community, and someone surely will know someone else who is in the area, I would hope. You were wise to evacuate your family, and I cannot imagine how difficult the decision to leave your sailboat adrift was. My prayers go to you and yours, and I sincerely hope things work out for you soon!
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Old 24-12-2016, 21:20   #3
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

What's the boat's MSI #?
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Old 24-12-2016, 21:25   #4
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

You might get more assistance if you edit the post title to more closely match your predicament.
Tough story - hope you can find her.
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Old 24-12-2016, 21:31   #5
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

I ve private emailed you
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Old 25-12-2016, 02:39   #6
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Hi, I have access to global satellite ais.

Sometimes class b show up, sometimes not. PM me with your vessel name/flag/mmsi if you have it, and I will see if it's showing up or not.

TJ
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Old 25-12-2016, 03:29   #7
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
You might get more assistance if you edit the post title to more closely match your predicament.
Tough story - hope you can find her.


I'm not sure how to edit it
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Old 25-12-2016, 04:05   #8
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Quote:
Originally Posted by allwentwrong View Post
I'm not sure how to edit it
I have done it for you.
weavis mod.
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Old 25-12-2016, 04:23   #9
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re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
Hi, I have access to global satellite ais.

Sometimes class b show up, sometimes not. PM me with your vessel name/flag/mmsi if you have it, and I will see if it's showing up or not.

TJ
Quote:
Originally Posted by weavis View Post
I have done it for you.
weavis mod.
Thank you very much
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Old 25-12-2016, 05:08   #10
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Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Wow...What a tough read.... Wishing you the best of luck and somebody that has the resources to help...

Let's keep this one bumped!
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Old 25-12-2016, 05:08   #11
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Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Maybe give a phone call to Nicholson Yacht Services in Antigua
+1 268 460 1530 They may be able to put you in contact with somebody local with the right vessel. Good luck .
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Old 25-12-2016, 05:39   #12
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Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

If I remember correctly yacht in Perfect Storm was recovered by the boat owner chartering a small fixed wing plane and searching the drift zone from the air. Located it on a jersey beach. Good luck to you and your family.
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Old 25-12-2016, 06:04   #13
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pirate Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

Man what a bumma..!!!
Glad you all got off safely in the end.. hears hoping a white knight rides over your horizon soon..
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Old 25-12-2016, 06:30   #14
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Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

+1 on HappyMdR "let's bump this up".

AWW, would you feel comfortable to post your notes or sketch of "recent plots and fixes"?
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Old 25-12-2016, 09:02   #15
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Re: Urgent help needed to recover abandoned yacht NW Barbados

I agree with aircraft Search to get your initial location in the event the AIS is down. I Surely Hope for the best for you guys and you and your boat are recovered. Keep this Post Bumped and keep us informed. All the best

Coconut
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