At 15h29 on Saturday the 14th of June, NSRI Durban volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following a request for urgent assistance from the 50 foot Catamaran Yacht WICKED, sailing from Knysna to Richards Bay with 4 male crew on board, aged 64, 24, 23 and 19. The owner skippering the yacht reported to be taking water from unknown causes and reported to be at risk of sinking 10 nautical miles South of Durban. The yacht was without a mast and was under motor power. (The mast is due to be fitted later in Richards Bay)
Our NSRI Durban volunteer sea rescue duty crew responded to our sea rescue base to prepare to launch the sea rescue craft when the skipper of WICKED confirmed that his water pumps were working satisfactorily and they had managed to contain the inflow an were making good speed towards Durban.Our Sea Rescue volunteers arranged additional water pumps and remained on stand-by ready to launch if necessary. The yacht came into Durban’s Port under her own power and docked next to our sea rescue base.Additional water pumps that NSRI Durban arranged were taken on board and water was pumped out of the yacht. The cause of the yacht taking water was investigated.
The crew of the yacht had already removed all of the floor boards in a failed effort to search for the leak but a chest of drawers in the forehead cabin had not yet been removed and on NSRI assisting to remove the chest of drawers it was discovered that the Fish Finder Transducer (behind the chest of drawers) had come loose leaving a hole in the hull about the size of a five rand coin which caused a steady and constant inflow of water into the hull.The transducer was screwed back into place and once fastened water no longer breached the hull.The skipper berated himself for not having thought it may have been the transducer as then they could have repaired the problem at sea and despite extending all possibilities only the fish finder transducer had evaded him.With the yacht no longer taking water and the hole secured and all water pumped out of the yacht she has continued on her voyage to Richards Bay requiring no further assistance.