Just a couple of hours ago there was a radio
call to Gavin Brady (local boy), skipper
of "Beau Geste", en route
to New Caledonia
A crewmember literally tripped over a crack in the night - across the side-deck, down the topsides, disappearing underwater towards the keel
, and going clear through the core
to the interior
Gavin had to wrestle with the question of whether to abandon.
He put in a call to Bruce Farr. Given that there'd been a few structural problems in the boat's relatively brief history
, Bruce was well acquainted with the scantlings and loads
His advice : "Get off the boat".
It was blowing, not a lot, but a fair bit (50 knots), (they'd prudently had the boat
reefed down and detuned to maybe 70% of potential performance) and conditions were such that Gavin was not sure liferafts were a better option, although he couldn't be sure the hull
would not break in two.
Despite Farr's recommendation, Gavin decided to try and nurse the boat to Norfolk Island.
boat went out 50 miles to meet them and escort them in, which would have been a major blessing (particularly given there's 18 crew to get off) , and a ship arrived on the scene a bit later to provide them with something of a lee slick, to reduce the wracking loads.
They duly arrived safely as described above.
Classy effort, but a tough call.
I'd guess they'd have to send a barge to put under her - can't see any prospect of making her safe to travel on her own bottom. Possibly they could drop the canting keel
off (jettison) for later salvage
, to make the lift
Tricky, even so. Even getting the rig off safely would be challenging, given the lack of a sheltered harbour
- which presumably would be necessary if they have to do a lift
, but perhaps not if the barge is submersible.