May Day call as boat starts to sink
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.