May Day call as boat starts to sink

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

WHIT­SUN­DAY skip­per Kevin Fog­a­rty found him­self in the sit­u­a­tion all sailors want to avoid when his yacht Twister started sink­ing on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 4.

Mr Fog­a­rty and his two crew were on their way from Air­lie Beach to Mackay to com­pete in a race, when the boat started tak­ing on wa­ter at about 2pm.

Mr Fog­a­rty said con­di­tions were rough, with 25-30 knot winds “on the nose”.

“The drain blocked up with some mud and the an­chor locker filled up with wa­ter and that made its way back through the boat – within a short pe­riod of time we had 600ml of wa­ter through the boat.”

Mr Fog­a­rty said he dropped the sails, started the mo­tor and put out a May Day emer­gency call, which was an­swered by the Vol­un­teer Ma­rine Res­cue (VMR) ser­vice in Mackay.

VMR Mackay ad­vised the Twister crew to ac­ti­vate their EPIRB, which alerted the Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Au­thor­ity (AMSA).

AMSA then ac­ti­vated the RACQ CQ Res­cue he­li­copter, which ar­rived over the waters east of Newry Is­land at about 2.40pm.

A pri­vate char­ter ves­sel and VMR boat also ar­rived on the scene, as well as a com­mer­cial he­li­copter, which was tasked to as­sist in the search.

The com­mer­cial he­li­copter was stood down by AMSA but RACQ CQ Res­cue re­mained on scene to watch from over­head as Twister was es­corted into safe waters.

Mr Fog­a­rty said the crew man­aged to stem the wa­ter flow and sta­bilise the ves­sel. They were able to mo­tor into Port Newry near Seaforth where they were met by VMR Mackay.

Mr Fog­a­rty said he was grate­ful to all those who came to his as­sis­tance.

The boat was able to re­turn to Air­lie Beach the next day with no struc­tural dam­age and an un­harmed crew.

SCARY SIT­U­A­TION: Crew aboard the Whi­tun­day yacht Twister were forced to call a May Day when the boat started tak­ing on wa­ter while sail­ing to Mackay on Fri­day, Ocot­ber 4.

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