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08 December 2011

EPIC YACHT RESCUE TOOK 16 HOURS AND SPIRIT OF VODACOM COVERED A TOTAL OF 116 NAUTICAL MILES

Image: STELLA DI MARIE on the towline Picture Rudi Fisch.

The NSRI Table Bay rescue boat SPIRIT OF VODACOM towing the yacht STELLA DI MARIE with Italian Temossa Terrioli and his crewman, Johnathan McKay, from Saldanha Bay, arrived safely in Table Bay just after 17h00 following what was for SPIRIT OF VODACOM and her sea rescue crew a 16 hour operation covering 116 nautical miles.

The yacht was towed into Port with her two masts, rigging and sails dragging behind the yacht after they were not able to be recovered at sea. Once in Port the sea rescue vehicle, using the winch system, was used to recover the ‘debris’ from the water.

Temossa Terrioli had recently purchased the yacht in Saldanha Bay and was en route to the Seychelles when the main mast snapped in three places bring the second, smaller, mast down which also snapped in two places.

It has not been established what caused the yacht mast to snap and SAMSA will investigate.
The fishing vessel HANGBERG stood-by the yacht until the sea rescue craft arrived on-scene.
Maritime Radio Services played an integral role during the operation relaying communications between the sea rescue craft and the sea rescue base.

It was originally thought that both sailors were from abroad after communications could not be established with the yacht due to a language barrier but turned out to be only the Italian who could not speak any English talking on their radio.

Image: STELLA DI MARIE. Picture Rudi Fisch.


Original Press Release:

At 02h06 on Monday 05th December NSRI Table Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were called out by the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) following an EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Indicating Rescue Beacon) activation 65 nautical miles off Cape Town.

The EPIRB activation was intercepted by the United States Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre who contacted the South African Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to activate an investigation and a search and rescue operation.

It appears that the two men on-board a yacht were in the middle of a fishing fleet when they lost both masts which may have snapped one after the other possibly by wind. The fishing vessel HANGBERG went to their assistance. Efforts were made to cut the rigging hanging in the water behind their yacht free but after these efforts failed it was suggested that they activate their EPIRB. A sea rescue operation was launched.

Our duty crew launched SPIRIT OF VODACOM and on arrival found the yacht STELLA DI MARIE with two foreigners on-board who are unable to speak any English. They had broken both masts and the rigging and sails are trailing behind the yacht.

Unable to communicate with the two men because of the language barrier our sea rescuers rigged a tow-line from the casualty yacht to our rescue craft and started towing them at 5 knots towards Table Bay.

The towing effort is currently being made more difficult by the ‘debris’ trailing behind the yacht and at 16h00 we are launching our sea rescue craft ROTARY ENDEAVOR to rendezvous with the rescue operation and take a look to see if some of the debris can be cut free before trying to bring the yacht into Port.

Communications between our sea rescue base and our sea rescue craft is being assisted by the Maritime Radio Services and at this stage we are not pressing for any more details. We are satisfied that the two men are safe, they appear not to be injured, and we can find out exactly what happened to them and where they are from once they are neatly in Port.

At 11h45 the towing rescue effort was 30 nautical miles from Port.


Image: Table Bay crew hauling the broken masts out the water. It was caught under the yacht’s hull along with the sails and rigging. We used the winch on the mobile to help pull it out.


Image: Stella di Mare being put on the quayside. Pictures by Paula Leech.

- NSRI