Latest Rescue - S/V Spraydust
26 February 2011 | Mid South Atlantic Ocean
Yacht crew rescued.
I first heard from Tom & Sue Morgan by email about 6 months ago when Tom sent me an email informing me that they would be sailing from Salvador, Brazil to Cape Town with one crew member Chris Cadwell and that I should listen out for them.
At that stage I asked them to email me all their information in regards to
their yacht "Spraydust", crew etc, which they did, never thinking that I
would need it.
Our first ham radio contact was on the 3 February 2011 at 13:40 SAST at that time they were at 16South and 36West just to the South East of Salvador.
I then kept daily contact with them getting their position and weather
conditions and giving them a 4-day wind forecast.
All went well until the 22nd February when Tom told me that they had a
broken forestay and asked if I could phone Associated Rigging in Cape Town and ask them a whole list of questions which he gave me. I asked Tom to stand by on frequency while I phoned them. To cut a long story short and after many phone calls back and forth to Tom and the riggers Tom had all the answers he needed.
The problem was that they would have to go up the mast to effect the
necessary repairs and due to the fact that they were in very strong wind and 4-5m sea swells, this was not going to be possible.
I told Tom that the winds were going to go up to gale force within the next
8 to 10 hours and that it would remain strong for the next 4 days.
Tom at this stage was still hopeful and in good spirits.
On the morning of 24 February I received an email from Andy, the Chief Radio Officer on Tristan da Cunha Island informing me that Tom "Spraydust" had requested assistance from him and that they required a rescue.
When I called Tom at our usual time 13:40 SAST, Tom confirmed that they were needing an urgent rescue as the mast with out the forestay was under severe stress and they feared it may break. I asked Tom to stand by on frequency whilst I phoned the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to find out if they had received the request.
Mark at MRCC told me that he had received it from Andy on Tristan and that
he had sent a request to the Brazilian MRCC who in turn had sent it on to
the Argentina military for action, but they had passed it on to Uruguay Military as Tom was in their area of responsibility. Mark had not heard
anything else. I gave Mark all the yacht's information required to pass on.
I called Tom and told him the status quo. And also give him an update on the weather, it did not look good.
I arranged to call him again at 14:30 to give him an update.
I contacted MRCC and told them when I would next call Tom and asked them to ask the Uruguay Military to call at the same time on our ham radio frequency so they could talk to Tom themselves.
When I called to at 14:30 I told him that I had requested the Uruguay
Military to come up on our frequency we both called but heard nothing. I
took Tom's Position and weather and arranged to call him again at 20:30
I emailed Tom's position to the MRCC and again asked them to ask the Uruguay Military to come on frequency at 20:30 SAST or 18:30 UTC.
When I called Tom at 20:30 he sounded very tired, we called for the Uruguay Military and back they came. I stayed in the background while Tom talked to them and explained his problem, they asked him to come back on frequency in 1 hour's time.
That would be at 21:30 SAST.
I told Tom that I would also listen in at that time.
When the Uruguay military called him at 21:30 I was on frequency and could hear Tom giving them his position and weather and arranging further
After Tom had ended his conversation with them I called him and arranged to call him again at 10:30 SAST the next day.
Later that night I got an email from the MRCC informing me that Tom had
drifted back in to Brazilian waters and that a ship, Jag Lakshita, is sailing from their position to rescue the Spraydust crew.
When I called Tom at 10:30 SAST I got no reply.
Then I got news from Andy on Tristan that the Ship Jag Lakshita had picked up the crew from Spraydust and they were well.
This was later confirmed by the MRCC.
Jag Lakshita is an oil tanker and is now headed for West Africa.
I await further news.
Thanks Andy ZD9BV Tristan and all for their help.
Yet another successful rescue by HAM RADIO and Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC Cape Town)
South African Maritime Mobile Net.
Email from Chris's wife in Cape Town: -
Thank you so much for the update and all the information on Spraydust it
must have been a very stressful time for not only the crew but also for
yourself trying to organize a rescue team.
Thank you once again.
From Tom,s daughter in the UK: -
Message from Tom & Sue Via Brigette's e-mail home e-mail:
Hi All, We will arrive in Africa in about a week. However, not the way we
planned. The main forestay broke at the stem head and the furling gear broke up. So, we were unable to bring the sail down. After several days, and attempts to bring down the sail, I came to the conclusion that we were
doomed to sail downwind and never land, just like the Flying Dutchman! The other problem was the mast was moving and liable to fall down at any time.
So, a rescue was initiated through the SA Maritime Mobile Net.
The MRCC system took over and we were picked up very shortly by the tanker Jag Lakshita. They are treating us wonderfully.
We are well but sad to abandon such a big part of our lives, and Tom had a
whole radio station on board. We will have to start up again (number for the bank etc. all lost in the transfer).
Will be in touch as soon as we get back to civilization.
Brgs Sue and Tom.