ARC Europe Boat Abandoned; Crew Rescued

This is a great example of the maritime community coming together to help another vessel in distress.

At around 22:30UT on Friday, approximately 330 nautical miles northeast of Bermuda, the yacht Outer Limits struck a submerged object, believed to be a whale, and sustained damage to the hull causing significant water ingress. While the yacht’s emergency pumps were able to contain the leaks, skipper Joost Gehrels of the Netherlands, doubted that the boat could safely return to Bermuda and issued a Mayday to request immediate assistance. Using the yacht’s satellite telephone he also contacted RCC Bermuda.

The Netherlands flagged Hanse 370e, was taking part in the ARC Europe rally and en route from Bermuda to Horta, Azores when the incident occurred. RCC Bermuda contacted vessels in the area and diverted the merchant ship E R Melbourne, and the ARC Europe rally yacht Halo, which was 15 nautical miles away to assist. The E R Melbourne, a 36,000 ton container ship, reached Outer Limits’ position at approximately 00:10UT May 19, and commenced evacuation of the crew. Within an hour, the four crew members of Outer Limits were safety aboard the merchant ship and the yacht Halo was then asked to stand down. Outer Limits was abandoned, at approximate position 34 19N 59 04W. The German flagged E R Melbourne has now resumed course for Cagliari, Italy.

Outer Limits’ skipper Joost Gehrels, speaking via satellite phone said that he and all his crew, Marta Cappiello (Italian), Diane Ferrero (American) and Andrew Siess (American), are safe and well although understandably shaken. They have been able to contact their friends and family ashore and inform them that they are ok. Rally manager Lyall Burgess, commented on the incident, expressing his thanks to the Master and crew of the E R Melbourne; to RCC Bermuda; and to the double-handed crew of Halo, Mike & Alexandra Bailey, for their professionalism and swift response to the incident.

Courtesy of

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