Yacht rescued after leaving Tristan
- News 24
Dramatic sea rescue off Cape
02/05/2005 21:24 - (SA)
by Pia Nänny
Cape Town - NSRI rescue workers have braved 4m swells, a wind reaching 40 knots at times and icy temperatures to bring a
stranded yacht to safety.
The yacht was underway to Mauritius, but a broken rudder and helm forced it to change direction.
The six crew of the Thandeka were brought to safety at Hout Bay harbour after a rescue operation lasting more than 12 hours.
The yacht was towed to Hout Bay by the NSRI rescue vessel Spirit of the Rotary.
"We are most grateful that the NSRI came to our aid. There were times I wanted to give up," skipper Paul Peyrataud, 69, said.
The crew set sail for Mauritius on Saturday after waiting out the cyclone season in Cape Town.
According to Peyrataud the rudder gave out about 200 nautical miles south of Cape Point and the crew tried to rig a
temporary steering mechanism to get them back to Cape Town, the nearest harbour.
"On Sunday afternoon, my crew asked me to send a distress signal," Peyrataud said.
Cape Town Radio as well as the NSRI at Bakoven and Hout Bay picked up the signal at about 16:45.
Members of the NSRI were at sea to help with the start of the Global Challenge which set off from Table Bay to Boston in the
US on Sunday.
NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said: "As a rule, the NSRI is not responsible for towing vessels to safety, but we decided
to act before the situation turned into an emergency".
At about 21:00, the crew on board the rescue vessel met up with the yacht almost 28 nautical miles from Hout Bay.
The towline was hooked up under difficult conditions and it took the two vessels a further 12 hours to reach the safety of
At one stage, the towline got caught up in the yacht's propeller and a rescue swimmer had to brave the icy conditions to cut
Peyrataud said it would have been impossible to steer the yacht under such difficult conditions without a rudder.
He was highly relieved to be back on land.
"It feels like heaven," he said.
Peyrataud, a Frenchman, spent 25 years working in the US.
He and his crew, comprising another Frenchman and four men from Mauritius, set sail from Chesapeake in the US for Brazil.
They stopped off at Tristan da Cunha (a small island near St Helena) and, eventually, reached Cape Town.
"The rudder survived 12 000 nautical miles but gave out shortly before the end," Peyrataud joked.
Peyrataud plans to have the yacht fixed as soon as possible and to, once again, set sail for Mauritius as soon as conditions
"I am a retired man and would like to use my yacht to take young people out to sea," he said.
Edited by Elmarie Jack