At 12h16, Saturday, 26th September, NSRI Simons Town crew were activated following reports from the False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) of the 35 foot yacht BAD HABIT, with 7 adult crew onboard, taking part in the annual FBYC Spring Regatta, calling a Mayday distress. They reported to be taking water and sinking, 1 nautical mile off Fish Hoek, after striking a whale while underway.
We launched the sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF SAFMARINE III and SPIRIT OF SURFSKI II and requested the FBYC to dispatch their marker boats (boats that were being used along the regatta route to act as markers) to respond.
Sea conditions were a 2 meter swell and 25 knot South Easterly.
One of the marker boats, an SA Navy Harbour Patrol Boat, reached the scene first and rafted their Navy Patrol Boat to the yacht to act as buoyancy assisting the yacht to stay afloat.
The yacht had struck a whale accidentally while sailing at about 13 knots (24 km an hour) causing the transom mounted rudder to be ripped off the yacht leaving a hole about half a meter wide below stern deck causing a sudden and massive inflow of water.
The yacht crew, who would later be commended for their good seamanship, reacted quickly by using life-jackets, sails, seat cushions, and whatever loose bits and pieces of the yacht they could to plug the hole to stem the ingress of water. It seems even their own bodies were used in their efforts to plug the hole that had been caused. Crew also bailed water using buckets.
On our arrival on the scene we took the yacht under tow and with the forward movement of the yacht further assisting to stem the water ingress the 7 yacht crew stayed onboard their yacht to continue their bold efforts to plug the hole and to continue to bail water.
While towing towards Simons Town progressed we arranged our shore crew to bring extra water pumps to the dock and to bring a 44 gallon drum to the dock while the FBYC prepared their carry lift and hoist.
The yacht tow was made difficult by the yacht rudder missing leaving the yacht unable to steer and the yacht moved about wildly under tow. A sea drogue, from our sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF SURFSKI II, was deployed from the yacht to assist the yacht to stay in line under tow.
On arrival at Simons Town harbour water pumps were used to continue to extricate water from the boat and the 44 gallon drum was positioned on the bow of the yacht and filled with water to weight the front of the yacht down and help to keep the yacht stern out of the water.
The FBYC carry lift then hoisted the yacht out of the water.
Three of the yacht crew were found to have sustained injuries during the ordeal. A woman was treated for hypothermia and near drowning symptoms (the near drowning symptoms appeared to have been caused from the lady swallowing water while stemming the inflow of water through the hole in the yacht). Another woman was treated for soft tissue injuries (bruising) to both of her knees and she has been transported to hospital by CMR (Cape Medical Response) ambulance in a stable condition. A man was treated for a laceration to his lip which appears to have been caused by the tow-line but it was a minor injury.
The remaining 4 crew, all men, were not injured.
All of the yacht crew were commended for good seamanship in helping to prevent the yacht from sinking.
It was revealed that yesterday (on Friday) the same yacht BAD HABIT had struck a whale while sailing.
The video is available on Sea Rescue’s You Tube channel.
During the afternoon, Saturday, 26th September, our NSRI Agulhas duty crew were conducting routine training.
While training they noticed 2 double sea kayaks paddling off Struisbaai and decided to use them in their scenario of a mock rescue drill. In their practice drill, the sea rescue crew responded towards them but, before reaching them, terminated the response part of their mock rescue.
Sea conditions were a 2 meter calm sea state.
Then at 15h50 our crew were activated following reports of a sea-kayak capsized 2 nautical miles off-shore of Struisbaai.
Our sea rescue craft I&J RESCUER IV responded to the scene and to our astonishment the same kayakers that we had mock rescued earlier (without their knowledge) were in difficulty with the one sea-kayak capsized and although the male and female couple had righted their craft they were both in the water holding onto their craft.
Our sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF WINELANDS had also responded and while the 2 casualty crew were rescued onto I&J RESCUER and their sea-kayak recovered SPIRIT OF WINELANDS escorted the 2 men on the second sea-kayak safely to shore.
The couple were brought safely ashore aboard our sea rescue craft and although a bit cold once safely ashore they required no further assistance.
They are all from the Netherlands, on holiday in South Africa. It appears that the sea-kayak may have taken in water causing it to capsize.
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