Five sailors are rescued after the keel falls off their yacht when she turns turtle while sailing in the Canary Islands.
Yacht Tyger of London, a Comet 45S lost her mast and inverted in 30 seconds after broaching in F6 winds.
One female crew member is temporarily trapped underneath the yacht by her safety harness.
Members of the Royal Artillery Yacht Club (RAYC), took part in the rescue of the stricken yacht with which they were sailing in company on Thursday December 7. They were sailing their flagship, a Rustler 42 named St Barbara V.
The yachts were sailing five miles south of Punta Rasca – the southern tip of Tenerife when the wind got up above a F6 according to reports. Both yachts had apparently taken a second reef in the mainsail, and when Tyger came back on the wind she broached and lost her keel. According to the crew of St Barbara V the Comet 45S lost her mast and turned turtle in 30 seconds.
The crew continues: “We sent a MAYDAY call, dropped our headsails, started the engine and turned around to assist. The off-watch were brought on deck as we approached the five crew members (four male, one female; German-Swiss) of the stricken yacht, one of whom had been trapped beneath it by her harness. Her partner dived beneath to release her as the remainder drifted clear.
“They had floated about 200m downwind of their yacht which allowed us to pick up the first three in our first pass using St Barbara’s throwing line and a fender on a warp as recovery lines. Having got them alongside, we took them on board via the stern ladder and then went back for the other two.
“All five wore inflated life-jackets which made them easy to see despite the high winds and rising sea. We got the same recovery lines to the last two casualties and brought them on board in a similar fashion.
“Less than 30 minutes from sending the MAYDAY message we had recovered all five casualties and had taken them down below to assess them and provide first aid/warmth. We then motored directly into the F7 for the last 4 nM to the nearest harbour of Les Galletas and transferred the casualties ashore.
“They were all very shaken and the female, in particular, was suffering from shock, but the harbour authorities took care of them and we bade them farewell. They were most grateful.”
A helicopter that had attended the scene after the yacht’s EPIRB was triggered but stood down once St Barbara confirmed the five casualties were all safe onboard. Authorities believe the hull of the 45S sank soon after the incident as a search the following morning found nothing.
The fin-and-bulb-keeled three-cabin 45ft (14m) Tyger was built in 2007 by Comar Yachts and is still currently for sale, at £189,000 on Ancasta Boat Sales site.