Crew rescued after hitting container
FIVE sailors are lucky to be alive after their yacht struck a container and sank off Maputo yesterday.
The crew drifted in their life raft for more than seven hours before being rescued by a tanker, and are now on board the vessel en route to Singapore.
Skipper Gerrie Boshoff, of Vanderbijlpark, and the crew were sailing from Reunion to Durban when their vessel, The Wizard, struck the container in the morning.
With the vessel taking on water, the crew sent a distress signal at 4.30am, which was received by the SA Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
The centre’s rescue mission co-ordinator, Mark Steed, said that attempts to contact The Wizard were unsuccessful.
“A second beacon detection from the vessel was received and a safety net broadcast to vessels in the area was put out, asking all vessels to respond and assist.”
Steed said the EVA Schulte and Voge Felix, both six hours away, responded and were instructed to divert to The Wizard’s position.
He said the vessels reached the distress point at 1pm, by when The Wizard had already sunk.
The Eva Schulte crew found the raft with all five crew and took them aboard.
With the Singapore-registered tanker bound for Singapore, The Wizard’s crew would go along for the ride before flying back to South Africa.
Steed said The Wizard had been involved in another incident on September 24, when Boshoff damaged his eye.
He was forced to divert his yacht to Rodrigues Island, from where he was flown to Joburg for treatment.
Boshoff’s crew incudes John Brownhill, who was born in the UK but has lived in Boksburg for the past 15 years; Shin Tera, a Japanese living in Indonesia; Doug MacLeod, who was born in the UK, served as a British and Australian army officer and now lives in Australia; and Swedish yacht master Sasha Jovanovic. Peter Sullivan, former editor of The Star and veteran of the 1993 Cape to Rio, was also part of the crew, but was not on the recent leg which resulted in the yacht’s end.
Sullivan said the yacht had set sail to go around the world but lost its mast near Australia in 2008.
The yacht was docked in Australia for three years while Boshoff battled with insurance companies over the repairs needed.
A new mast was finally installed and the yacht resumed its journey on August 12, sailing to Bali and Rodrigues Island.
Sullivan had returned to South Africa for work commitments while the yacht sailed to Reunion and left four days ago for Durban.
“It happened at night, so it would have been impossible to see the container before they struck it,” he said.