Sunday, June 3, 2012

8.30am Sunday June 5 1994...

The Mayday signal I'd tried to broadcast some twelve hours before had not been heard.
The Epirb 406 locator beacon we'd switched on that signalled to the world a yacht was in serious strife some twelve hours before, had.
In an hour or so an RNZAF Orion would fly over my stricken 10m William Atkin designed yacht Sofia that had become dismasted when it rolled 360 degrees, and shoot the photo above.
I'd spent the night in survival mode, getting rid of as much water as possible from the yachts' interior.
Uschi, my Swiss girlfriend was strong, serene and supportive.
We'd made it through the night having not slept for the last 24 hours and it wouldn't be until the early hours of Tuesday morning that we'd sleep again.
Just after 10pm Monday night, we were rescued in horrendous conditions by some very brave sailors from the French Navy ship, Jacques Cartier.
The captain and crew looked after us, befriended, wined and dined us, nurtured us and returned us to our home port of Auckland the following Thursday.
Twenty one people were rescued from 12 yachts as the worst weather bomb ever, hit the area where a number of yachts were in a regatta heading to Tonga.
Three people died.
Today's one of those special times of the year when I remember and think how lucky I am...
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  1. I remember it well ....

  2. Glad you made it and are still here to write about it. Quite an experience.

  3. Yes. You were very lucky not to be swamped by another enormous wave, to be rescued alive and be able to tell your amazingly scary but wonderful story.
    I think I'm lucky to have met and know you.

  4. Bad luck old chap...And "Sophia", did you ever find out what became of her? She looks like a fine deep sea boat by the photo.

    1. Thankyou but there was no 'bad' luck, only luck.
      Sofia was found floating in the Pacific exactly six months later and returned to me... but that's another story.
      There's documentary film called Pacific Rescue and a couple of books written about the event...

    2. Yes of cause.Point taken.Luck... and faith in luck is a fine thing to see us through times which so easily could be construed as bad luck.It used to be called carrictor building... not Bad luck. I think it must have gone out of fashion when virtual reality and game boy machines came in.

  5. so glad you had that luck or we would not have this great blog site to go to each day

  6. Hi Keith - sounds like its happening again with the Noumea race casualties and they've plenty more ahead of them looking at that horrible low in the Tasman on its way.
    Very glad you survived.

  7. I remember the trip only to well i was onboard SwanHaven out of Tauranga.It was one life changing event.I like you go back there in my mind every year. Cheers

  8. I was crew on the yacht Southern Voyager in the same storm. Never forget my first ocean crossing, there were some beat up boat when we arrived in Tonga.