Yachting Boating World: Randy and Dawn Ortiz had been travelling the world on their yacht Nirvana Now for several years when tragedy struck last month in the South Pacific.


Two sailors had to watch their home and livelihood sink last month after damage caused by the sea saw their yacht sink in the South Pacific Ocean.

Randy and Dawn Ortiz had been travelling the world on board their S&S North Atlantic 42 Nirvana Now and posting their story online for several years when tragedy struck in April.

Initial problems for the pair started to develop on April 6th after they noticed that the forestay was loose and on further inspection found that part of the deck had started to part from the hull.

Writing on his blog, Randy said: “We attributed this to the state of the sea over the last three days, which had been a 2-3m swell at a period of 3-5 seconds.

“We rolled in the jib sail mounted on the forestay to reduce the strain and kept the main sail up with reefs.

“We helped support the forestay with a spinnaker halyard and a spare jib halyard attached to the port and starboard forward mooring cleats.

They then began sailing a downwind course to further reduce the strain on the forestay, heading for Nuku Hiva, an island in French Polynesia.

Unfortunately the couple’s problems were far from over, with them later noticing that water was starting to build up in the bilge, requiring it to be pumped out multiple times.

Shortly after, the pair decided to contact Pacific seafarer’s net, an amateur radio communications organization providing support and assistance, and another yacht called Continuum was diverted to help them.

Over the next few days, the situation on board continued to deteriorate as rough swells caused significant damage to the yacht.

“A large wave came up behind us and slammed the rudder over breaking the steering quadrant and separated from the hull the internal structure of the boat where the steering cable pulleys attach on the starboard side. We contacted W3ZU Fred and asked him to relay a May Day message to the Coast Guard that our situation had deteriorated and that we needed assistance. We then set up the emergency tiller system so we could maintain the boat in a heaved to arrangement to maintain stability”, wrote Randy.

“US Coast Guard Group 11 responded and we informed them of our damages, that the barnacles were reducing our progress and that the bilge pump was keeping up to the ingress of water from the damaged deck.

“We also informed them that Continuum had changed course to meet us. They were going to see if there was another ship in the area that they could ask to assist and we arranged to send regular position reports to them through W3ZU Fred, which we did throughout the night.”

As the heavy swells continued, another large wave struck Nirvana Now, breaking the rudder’s emergency steering linkages, causing it to swing free, pounding against the hull of the boat.

By April 7th the couple’s situation was significantly worse, with one foot of water coming into the boat every hour.

“Throughout the day 2-3m waves continued to slam the rudder into the bottom of the boat, as the rudder stops were damaged. We rigged a line from the midship mooring cleats, then aft around the rudder to reduce the movement of the rudder and the damage it was imparting on the hull.

“With our situation critical but stabilized we continued to pump the bilges every hour to keep ahead of the ingress of water from the damaged bow and the deteriorating condition of the rudder mountings. We maintained radio contact routines with Continuum, W3ZU Fred and the Seafarer’s Net and waited for the arrival of Continuum.”

At 3pm on April 8th and after three days of continued problems, Continuum arrived on scene and the couple made their way across to the yacht on board a dinghy.

Once safely aboard Continuum Randy and Dawn could only watch as Nirvana Now sunk to the bottom of the South Pacific, having previously agreed to scuttle the yacht so it was not a hazard to navigation.

In a closing statement on his blog, Randy said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the efforts of RCC Alameda1 and their radio watch keepers for their irreplaceable efforts.

“Bob and Mona Jankowski on the Continuum willingly endured great hardship as they motor-sailed 40 hours into strong winds and large seas while standing watches of two hours on, two hours off, to enable them to reach us before we sank.

“The two hour watch routine made possible the radio contact schedule of every two hours which kept them informed of our position as we drifted disabled. It was a great moral booster to us to be to talk to our saviors on a regular basis.

“I would like to impress upon all that it was the communications allowed us through the SSB radio giving us access to the land based ham networks and other boats that saved our lives. With the popularity and attributes of satellite phones increasing I think it is still prudent for all persons voyaging off shore to be skilled in the use of the SSB radio.

“We will miss the boat that gave us so much joy for 18 years.”




Categories: Accident, Rescue at sea

Motorboat & Yachting: Nautilus International argues that Lee Joon-seok has been made a scapegoat for the sinking of MV Sewol and the deaths of more than 200 schoolchildren.


Maritime union Nautilus International has defended ferry captain Lee Joon-seok, who was sentenced this week to ten years in jail for homicide after abandoning a sinking ship.

An appeals court in South Korea reduced his sentence from 30 years to ten years, but Mark Dickinson, general secretary of Nautilus, claimed that the 70-year-old will likely die in prison for making a mistake.

“Once again, a captain has been made the scapegoat as a result of political pressure and media misrepresentation,” he said.

“Pinning the blame on an individual in this way helps to obscure the underlying causes of the accident, including regulatory failure, overloading and design changes.”

Passenger ferry MV Sewol was loaded to almost twice its maximum capacity when it capsized off the coast of Jindo on April 16, 2014, killing 295 passengers, many of whom were children on a school trip to the island of Jeju.

Mark argues that the captain is not the only one to blame: “It is the law-makers that determine the actions of owners and set the levels of safety. It should not be masters that suffer for their failure.”

As well as Mr Joon-seok, who originally faced the death penalty, 14 other crewmembers were jailed for their part in the disaster, with sentences ranging from 18 months to 12 years.

Local media reports claim that passengers were told to stay were they were at 0900 – half an hour after the ferry had begun to list – and that the order to abandon ship was never given.

After the trial, the Mr Joon-seok admitted that he had panicked and failed to take appropriate measures, but denied having any intent to murder.


See article at Motorboat & Yachting – Click here

Pratical Boat Owner: The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report into the loss of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki and its four crew in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 720 miles east–south-east of Nova Scotia, Canada on 16 May 2014.


Almost a year after the sailing community was shocked by the sudden and tragic loss of the British sailing yacht Cheeki Rafiki and its four-man crew, the findings of an official investigation have been published.

MAIB synopsis
At about 0400 on 16 May 2014 the UK registered yacht Cheeki Rafiki capsized approximately 720 miles east-south-east of Nova Scotia, Canada while on passage from Antigua to Southampton.

Despite an extensive search that found the upturned hull of the yacht, the four crew remain missing: Skipper Andrew Bridge, aged 21, from Farnham, Surrey and crew Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset; Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset and 22-year-old James Male from Romsey, Hampshire.

At approximately 0405 on 16 May an alert transmitted by the personal locator beacon of Cheeki Rafiki’s skipper triggered a major search for the yacht involving United States Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft and surface vessels.

At 1400 on 17 May, the upturned hull of a small boat was located; however, adverse weather conditions prevented a closer inspection and the search was terminated at 0940 on 18 May.

At 1135 on 20 May, following a formal request from the UK government, a second search was started. At 1535 on 23 May, the upturned hull of a yacht was located and identified as being that of Cheeki Rafiki.

On investigation, it was confirmed that the vessel’s liferaft was still on board in its usual stowage position. With no persons having been found, the second search was terminated at 0200 on 24 May. Cheeki Rafiki’s hull was not recovered and is assumed to have sunk.

In the absence of survivors and material evidence, the causes of the accident remain a matter of some speculation. However, it is concluded that Cheeki Rafiki capsized and inverted following a detachment of its keel.

In the absence of any apparent damage to the hull or rudder other than that directly associated with keel detachment, it is unlikely that the vessel had struck a submerged object. Instead, a combined effect of previous groundings and subsequent repairs to its keel and matrix had possibly weakened the vessel’s structure where the keel was attached to the hull.

It is also possible that one or more keel bolts had deteriorated. A consequential loss of strength may have allowed movement of the keel, which would have been exacerbated by increased transverse loading through sailing in worsening sea conditions.


Action taken
The yacht’s operator, Stormforce Coaching Ltd, has made changes to its internal policies and has taken a number of actions aimed at preventing a recurrence. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has undertaken to work with the Royal Yachting Association to clarify the requirements for the stowage of inflatable liferafts on coded vessels, and the Royal Yachting Association has drafted enhancements to its Sea Survival Handbook relating to the possibility of a keel failure.

A recommendation has been made to the British Marine Federation to co-operate with certifying authorities, manufacturers and repairers with the aim of developing best practice industry-wide guidance on the inspection and repair of yachts where a glass reinforced plastic matrix and hull have been bonded together.

A recommendation has also been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to provide more explicit guidance about circumstances under which commercial certification for small vessels is required, and when it is not.

Further recommendations have been made to sport governing bodies with regard to issuing operational guidance to both the commercial and pleasure sectors of the yachting community aimed at raising awareness of the potential damage caused by any grounding, and the factors to be taken into consideration when planning ocean passages.


See article and more at Pratical Boat Owner – Click here

Motorboat & Yachting: An emergency rescue off Exmouth saw four people lifted from the water after their 18ft speedboat sank yesterday.


Four people were rescued off a sinking speedboat near Exmouth yesterday, prompting a Coastguard warning about preparing for the unexpected.

Three adults and one teenager were safely lifted from the water after their 18-footer began taking on water between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

RNLI Exmouth responded to the distress call by launching lifeboat R and J Welburn and reported that only one of the people onboard the stricken vessel was wearing a lifejacket. All four were given medical attention at Exmouth Marina after the successful rescue mission.

Peter Davies from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The person who called us this afternoon did exactly the right thing by calling for help at the earliest opportunity.

“Because they called when they did the amount of time the group spent in the cold sea was mercifully short.” He added that all boatowners should “prepare for the unexpected” even when taking a short tip out on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Recommended measures include taking enough lifejackets and personal floatation devices, and investing in a VHF or DSC radio, which can raise a distress in the event that your mobile phone does not have enough signal.



Categories: Rescue at sea

Pratical Boat Owner: A family of six were rescued from a yacht which became adrift in rough weather and ran aground off the Pembrokeshire coast. Angle RNLI lifeboat crew launched at 12.47am last Friday, 2 April, following a Mayday call from the 11-metre yacht.


Upon arrival at scene at Lindsway Bay, the lifeboat crew found the yacht aground with its anchor out, in the surf line with six people on board.

The All Weather Lifebat (ALB) was unable to get close enough due to the shallow water so the Y Boat was launched and maneuvered alongside the yacht in up to 2.4 metre breaking swell to evacuate the two adults and four children on board.

After several attempts, and often being swamped by the waves, the Y Boat made four successful transfers of the casualties onto the ALB.

The casualties, who were ‘wet, cold and shaken by their ordeal’, were taken to Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA) Jetty where they were helped by awaiting auxiliary coastguards.

With the yacht’s crew safe ashore the ALB went back to the scene, with the skipper on board, to liaise with the inshore lifeboat (ILB) in an attempt to tow the yacht to safety but due to the sea conditions no attempt was made.

The ILB returned to station whilst the ALB landed the skipper ashore at the MHPA before returning to station at 2.47am.

See article at Practical Boat Owner – Click here



Categories: Rescue at sea, Safety

Pratical Boat Owner: An American sailor who was rescued after two months lost at sea apologised to his father for not bringing his boat home.


In a touching audio conversation, Louis Jordan, aged 37, said to his father: ‘I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t sail back the boat, I’m sorry. It’s such a big loss.’

His father Frank Jordan said: ‘Here Louis, you’re fine son. I’m so glad you’re alive. We prayed and prayed and hoped you were still alive. That’s all that matters.’

Louis and his sailing vessel Angel were initially reported missing by his family to the United States Coast Guard on 29 January. A passing German container ship spotted him sitting on the hull of his upturned boat last Thursday, 2 April, approximately 200 miles off the North Carolina coast.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth received notification from the 1,085ft container ship Houston Express at approximately 1:30pm on Thursday. The container ship crew had spotted Louis and the stricken yacht approximately 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras and had taken him aboard.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, at approximately 3:40pm. The helicopter crew met the Houston Express, hoisted the man and transported him to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, arriving around 7:30pm

Frank Jordan thanked the rescuers. He told the container ship captain: ‘You’re a good man, I swear. ‘You did what you’re supposed to do and I sure do appreciate it and I know my son appreciates it. I’m grateful.’

See article at Pratical Boat Owner – Click here



Categories: Rescue at sea

Motorboats Monthly: London Coastguard and the RNLI were called to Tower Bridge this morning after a boat crash injured nine.


One of London’s most recognisable monuments was the scene of a coastguard callout this morning, after a 600-seater pleasure boat collided with Tower Bridge. At around 11:50am, City Cruises’ flagship vessel ‘Millenium Diamond’ struck the northern pillar of the bridge while cruising upstream.

The pleasure boat was then forced to dock at nearby St. Katherine’s Pier as the RNLI and coastguard were called to the scene. Eyewitness reports described how 126 passengers, including a group of around 50 schoolchildren in red uniforms, were made to disembark.

The London Ambulance Service later confirmed that nine were injured, five of which required hospital attention. These included a 64-year-old woman who suffered head and pelvic injuries after falling down some metal steps and was taken to the Royal London Hospital, according to the BBC.

Two ambulances and a police patrol vehicle were called to the pier, which was closed for the next two hours. No arrests were made at the scene, but enquiries are ongoing.

‘Millenium Diamond’ suffered only minor damage and was allowed to cast off and return to the company’s London headquarters shortly after the pier reopened. No visible damage was done to the bridge and road traffic was uninterrupted.

‘Millenium Diamond’ was recently launched by City Cruises and boasts the largest open-air deck on the Thames.

A statement from the company said: “City Cruises reacted quickly and continues to work with the authorities for the safety and welfare of its passengers.

“There have been a number of injuries reported, including crew who were immediately assessed and are being transferred to local hospitals.”
Read full article at Motorboats Monthly – click here




Categories: Rescue at sea

A 27ft yacht had to rescued on Saturday afternoon after it ran aground on Black Rock at the entrance of Falmouth Harbour.


A Pan Pan broadcast reported that Shinner and its six crew had run aground just after 1pm. The vessel had been sailing too close to a reef when it got into difficulty and had to be rescued by volunteers from the RNLI.

One at the scene, a tow line was passed to the yacht and a member of the rescue team boarded the boat in order to assist with its recovery.

An RNLI spokesperson said: “The yacht was pulled clear of the rocks at 1.22pm. Once it was confirmed that there was no water ingress and that the yacht’s engine was operating correctly, the tow was dropped and the all weather lifeboat was released to return to its station, while the inshore lifeboat escorted the yacht back into the inner harbour.”

None of the crew were hurt as a result of the incident.
Read full article at Yachting & Boating World – click here



Categories: Rescue at sea

Thousands of supporters have signed a petition for the US Coast Guard to give the sailors of Cheeki Rafiki a ‘chance to be found’. A campaign to encourage the US Coast Guard to resume searching for four British sailors is gaining momentum.


More than 27,400 supporters – and counting – have signed the petition, which can be found here. Cheeki Rafiki, a Beneteau First 40.7 yacht from Southampton, was returning home to the United Kingdom with a crew of four, following a successful race campaign in the Carribean.

The four crew members have been named as Andrew Bridge, 21, from Farnham, Surrey, the yacht’s skipper; Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset; Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and 23-year-old James Male, from Southampton.

On Thursday, the skipper, Andrew Bridge reported they were taking on water. The experienced offshore yachtsmen believed that the situation was stable but amended their course to head for the Azores. On Friday morning, Southampton-based Stormforce Coaching lost contact with them.

The US Coastguard carried out an extensive two-day search before making the ‘difficult decision to suspend search efforts.’

Heart-felt campaign

Friends and family of the sailors are calling for the US Coast Guard to ‘please search again’.

Nicola Evans, of Belvedere, Kent who started up the petition, said: ‘I sailed with Andy on Cheeki Rafiki last summer during the Fastnet 2013 campaign.

‘Andy is an amazing guy and showed such genuine care for me and all his crew mates, that we all consider him a close friend and desperately want him to be found.’

Family members have joined the call.

Claire Goslin, of Plymouth, said: ‘One of the sailors is my dad and we cannot give up! He is my world and we need to start this search again!!’

Gemma Townsend, of London, said: ‘My uncle is on board. We mustn’t give up. Two days searching is not enough. When people have survived many months on life rafts.’

Supporter David Williams added: ‘I crewed Cheeki across Biscay on the first leg of her outward journey in October.

‘She’s a well prepared boat with an experienced crew who will have the resources to survive for a lot more than 2 days (Tony Bullimore survived a week before being rescued and he was on his own).

‘It’s far too early to call the search off and give up on four men who could still be alive and hoping for rescue.’

US Coastguard statement

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Anthony Popiel said after learning of the vessel’s distress at 12.30am, Friday, watchstanders at the 1st Coast Guard District immediately began coordinating efforts by air and sea to locate the crew of the Cheeki Rafiki.

The locator beacons activated by the crew indicated they were in a position 1,000 miles east of Massachusetts as of Friday morning. Seas were 15 feet with winds surpassing 50 knots. The air temperature was 59 degrees and the water was 60 degrees.

He said: ‘Based on the extreme conditions at sea, but assuming best-case emergency equipment, the estimated survival time past the time of distress was approximately 20 hours. Crews searched for 53 hours.’

Capt Popiel added: ‘Air crews from North Carolina, Georgia and Canada searched an area of more than 4,000 square miles and worked with commercial liners who volunteered to assist from the sea.

‘At approximately noon, Saturday, the crew from the 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure located an overturned hull that matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki, but could not find any sign of the sailor.

‘After more than two days of searching and no indication of surviving crew members, the U.S. Coast Guard made the difficult decision to suspend search efforts.

‘We will continue to provide any information we can about the search efforts and wish to extend again our deepest condolences to the family and friends of these four sailors.’

Read article at Pratical Boat Owner – click here



Categories: Accident, Rescue at sea

Yachting Monthly: £155,000 worth of yacht abandoned. Three yachtsmen rescued from a life-raft after their 49ft yacht sank in the Atlantic were not insured for her loss

Leonard and Lisa Rorke’s £155,000 Beneteau Oceanis, last surveyed in 2007, was taking in water during a storm 900 miles off Bermuda, so they took to the liferaft with crewman Henri Worthalter and a pet dog.

They were picked up by a British-registered tanker the 351ft Tilda Kosan on passage to Mexico with a freight of gas.

The tanker’s captain used superb seamanship to range alongside the raft in the dark in rough conditions and take them off.

Leonard Rorke, 55, said: ‘We really did not think we were going to live. We were clinging on for our lives when we were found.’

The couple from Oundle, Northamptonshire only had the boat insured for Third Party claims.

They have two daughters back home at their £300,000 detached home.

See article at Yachting Monthly



Categories: Rescue at sea

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