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Old 22-09-2005, 04:35   #1
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MOQUINI - Missing in Indian Ocean

Yacht Moquini - missing whilst competing in the Indian Ocean Mauritius to Durban race.

A search fund has been established to continue the search for this yacht and crew. PLEASE help our fellow ocean sailors.


Thank you!
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Old 22-09-2005, 04:48   #2
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More details from Bob at ‘Cruising Connections’ ...


A private initative has been launched to conduct a specialised search effort using two Private aircraft capable of sustained airtime and suitable for the job. The idea is to operate two aircraft for a week, to a detailed Grid Pattern provided by recognised yachtsmen who are world class navigators and who have experience in plotting drift patterns, and routing. As you can imagine, this kind of operation takes an enormous amount of money, and we ask that you consider donating to a fund set up just for this purpose. All monies shall be managed by the Trustees in conjunction with the S & R Committee..

Acc Name: RNYC Moquini Fund
Standard Bank, Durban, South Africa.
Acc No; 050279890
Branch Code: 040026
FAX your dep slip to 27 (0) 31 3072590

The Bank Account was opened specially by Standard Bank for the purpose of the Moquini Fund and it is not related in any way to the ROYAL NATAL YACHT CLUB (RNYC) accounts. Further, complete transparency is guaranteed via the controls and management of the account. We have appointed respected Trustees to the account, they are;
Chris Frost (Commodore RNYC)
Richard Crockett
Dave Claxton (SailingKZN)

Auditors: Lowe and Company Chartered Accountants who offered their services free of charge.
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Old 23-09-2005, 01:45   #3
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Latest from the race website:

What We Know;
One of the last communications between Moquini and another yacht in the fleet was Tuesday 13th in the late afternoon, when Zeus overtook Moquini. Only hand signals were used (electrics?) and Neil Nocknell intimated that they had blown out all their spinnakers but were all ok.!

The last voice comms was at 22h40 (same day) between Graham Cochrane and his wife Denise via Sat Phone.

The Skygistics transponder on Moquini gave us a last positional report at 01h17 on Wed 14th, as 25deg 50'25"S, 47deg 44' 1"E. We know that conditions off Madagascar at the time she past through, were heavy but not too bad (25knts and 5-6m confused seas). The fact that the Skygistics transponder had stopped reporting was not seen as a problem as we were aware that Moquini may have experienced electrical problems and were sure that Kurt Ostendorf would get it up and running again.

The next comms from the yacht was a single EPIRB report of some 335milliseconds which simply gave us her 'ID'. This happened at 03h40, Friday 16th. It was an 'unlocated report' i.e., no co-ords were given. Also no report has been received since. The EPIRB being used on Moquini, is a SAILOR model. It is designed to be kept in the cabin and deployed manually.

This activation will be either the manual switching 'on' of the unit via the pressing of a button, or the immersion of the EPIRB into water. However, in both scenarios, the EPIRB must be removed from it's bracket to gain access to (a) the switch, or (b) enable the water activation points to work. If not removed from it's bracket, it will NOT activate. Therefore, it is a known that it was removed from it's bracket - just how, we can only guess. Why only one ID report from the EPIRB?

A possible scenario is that the yacht was in difficulty and one of the crew decided it was time to call for assistance... they would have removed the EPIRB and activated it manually, i.e. used the manual switch. At 03h40 in the morning the light from the bright strobe light would have alerted others to it's activation, perhaps causing them to immediately de-activate it until really sure about calling for help. This EPIRB can be switched off by depressing the button for 10 seconds. This may make some sense as the ID report of 335ms is only transmitted every 60 seconds, giving someone on board a full 50seconds to decide and action the 'deactivation'. In this type of scenario we believe the yacht is damaged, perhaps with a jury rig, and is limping to port but not in danger of sinking. There are other possibilities too, but the question remains... why did the EPIRB only report once?

If you have an educated theory, you can email it to us HERE and it will come through to our Ops centre. Please, only send us EDUCATED theories as we can not afford the time sifting through 1000's of 'what if' emails....

We are documenting our progress and we know that the sport and pastime of yachting will definately learn from this experience. We have.

Again, Sailing KZN (SAS), with overall responsibility for this Search, thanks the RNYC and many individuals and organisations who have stepped forward to offer their expertise and assistance. To the individual donors, businesses, schools and clubs... we thank you for your total support and assistance.

(From the race website)
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Old 26-09-2005, 01:19   #4
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Latest on yacht Moquini - post copied from:

SUNDAY 26th - A glimmer of hope!

All three efforts, being the Madagascar search, Mozambique search and the Rhumline search returned yesterday with only the Learjet (Rhumbline) reporting having seen a yacht. It was spotted 280nm out of Durban on the rhumbline, but due to low fuel the Lear was unable to drop down from the 39000ft she was flying at, to inspect the yacht. However we immediately dispatched the Sheltham Aviation King Air which was on it's way back from Bazarutu. It was unable to locate the yacht due to adverse visability.

Air search is incredibly difficult. When we send an aircraft out to a specific grid, they fly out very high to conserve fuel so afford themselves as much time over the search area as possible. The same applies to it's return flight. Further, the grids a King or Learjet fly are not as 'tight' as a C-130, due to their relatively shorter flight duration.

Today, a search will be made for the sighted yacht along the rhumbline, in hopefully better conditions.
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Old 26-09-2005, 13:10   #5
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PRESS RELEASE (just received)

Monday 26 September 2005

Missing Yacht Moquini - Search Called Off

The search for the Missing yacht Moquini with six crew members on board has officially been called off.

This was announced in Durban this afternoon after the families of the missing crew members had met with search and rescue officials.

“It has been an exceptionally difficult decision to make” said Dave Claxton, Chairman of the race organising committee. “It’s a decision that Matthew Thomas, Richard Crockett and I made in the cold light of day having rationally and unemotionally sifted through every single shred of information we had, and objectively analysed it. Plus, we have consulted experts far and wide to see if there is anything we may have missed, or any stone we have left unturned - with the answer always being that everything possible has been done up to this point.”

The families have been understanding, and have requested that the following statement be issued on their behalf:

“We, the families of the missing crew aboard MOQUINI have not given up hope of the crew being found, and would like to acknowledge the incredible and selfless effort the rescue team has put in to finding our husbands, sons, and brothers. We would like to express our appreciation to the media for their responsible and sympathetic reporting on this search and rescue mission, and to the public at large for the wonderfully generous support of the RNYC MOQUINI Rescue Fund, and for their care, sympathy and support. We have been astounded at the support from school children who have donated their lunch money, to the corporate giants of South Africa who have supported us. Words just cannot express our thanks and appreciation sufficiently. With all our hearts we thank you.”

The six crew aboard MOQUINI are:
Graham Cochrane
Neil Tocknell
Michael Goolam
Kurt Ostendorf
Sheldon Dickerson
Mark Dickerson

Dickerson, Ostendorf and Goolam all sailed the yacht from Durban to Mauritius for the race which started on Saturday 10 September off Grande Baie, Mauritius.

“While the search may have been called off, we the search and rescue committee, will monitor things on a daily basis, and should any shred of new evidence come to light that requires us to send aeroplanes out to an area for a search, we will do so” said Matthew Thomas.

MOQUINI was officially declared missing on Friday 16 September when a very brief signal from her EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was received indicating that she may be in some sort of distress. Complete communications had been lost with the yacht on Wednesday 14 September. It was not until the EPIRB signal was received was there any indication that they yacht may have been in any trouble.

Details of the missing yachtsmen: .............

See for the full statement and crew details.

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Old 27-09-2005, 03:11   #6
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Latest update - yacht Moquini

Post copied from


On Sunday, one of the search aircraft, whilst flying at 30000ft plus, spotted a small craft on the rhumbline, approx 280nm from Durban. It was unable to investigate due to fuel needs. The S & R committee dispatched a 2nd aircraft out of Maputo, but due to poor visabilty, were unable to locate the vessel. On Monday the 26th, a further two aircraft were dispatched to the known area of the sighting, conducting extensive searches, both returning without seeing anything.

It is believed that the sighted vessel may have been a small fishing boat which has now moved out of the area.

The areas searched to date have covered all the primary and secondary search sensitive areas both the MRCC and our local yachting experts have managed to come up with using modelling software. The French and U.S. authorities have also been consulted regarding possible scenarios, and these have dovetailed with our local theories. All possible leads have been taken up and investigated.

Search efforts now take the form of shipping and air traffic alerts, plus an awareness campaign in Madagascar, Mozambique and the local Wild Coast via local radio, and holiday resorts, with rewards offered for information. The S & R Committee meanwhile remains active and will immediately respond to ANY lead or sighting, or credible evidence, requiring further air search.

Group councelling, and support structure has been set up with the assistance of a medical professional within the family group, and financial bridging assistance for families is being investigated by the trustees of the fund. Legal aspects are also being investigated for the family group and funds set aside for this purpose.

Monies remaining in the Fund shall form a MOQUINI Legacy, whether they sail into Durban, or are rescued, or God forbid, not found. This Fund shall enable any future S & R bid in our waters to immediately launch into action and provide a solid start to any such initiative.
(From the race website)

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Old 02-10-2009, 04:05   #7
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The Fate of the "Moquini'

This may have been dealt with at the time. If so - I apologise for any upset I might cause to friends and relatives of the deceased bringing it up again. I was searching this forum for Mauritius topics and read the initial reports about Moquini's disappearance in the 2005 Mauritius to Durban race.

Here is a link into the investigation that followed the discovery of the upturned hull floating off the Transkei coast 5 months later.

The loss of yacht Moquini

Sad chain of events
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:31   #8
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Originally Posted by svstrider View Post

Sad chain of events
Sad is an understatement.

in the area of the keel, that the yacht did not conform to design specification and "the workmanship is appallingly substandard".
Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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