Yachting World

WHAT WE LEARNED

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■ Communicat­ion is key. The ability to exchange informatio­n with rescuers can save your life. Take a satphone, a device like Iridium Go, Garmin Inreach or

SPOT X, and watertight bags or cases for phone or tablet. ■ Don’t panic. We went through the stages one by one – identify and try to stop the leak, send the emergency signals once we were sure the boat could not be saved, communicat­e with the authoritie­s, add other equipment and supplies to the grab bag we had already packed. We were lucky in that the boat was not about to sink. Had One Tree Island been a monohull, I’m sure we’d have been in the liferaft within an hour.

■ Expect the unexpected. The hardest thing to defend against on a small boat is hitting something you cannot see. You won’t see objects that are just awash until you are literally on top of them.

■ Stop the leak. Could we have saved the boat? Willy comments: “Of all the safety gear, tools and spares on board, I had nothing to plug a hull breach of this size and shape (two narrow 8in cracks, perhaps an inch wide at the middles). I had three or four JB Weld epoxy putty sticks, I needed 20 times more!

“It is so frustratin­g that I had no solution to plug a simple, fully accessible hull breach! What I needed was a six-pack of cricket ball sized epoxy putty balls. Knead for two minutes, stuff it into or over the hole, hold while curing, repeat until the leak is plugged: simple. Why is there no such thing on the market?”

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