The 17 January, 2012 article “USA Yacht Akuido Rescued” needs some clarifications.
First, the name of my sail boat is not Akuido and my surname is not Loana.
Second, my boat never came closer than half a nautical mile (.9 kilometer) of Vulcan Rock. Her course at the time I asked for assistance would have taken me clear of the rock by about 3/4 of a nautical mile (1.4 kilometers) west of the same.
Third, while it may have appeared I had absolutely no control over my boat’s direction of travel, this is not the case. Taken from my gps track history and recreated using turning points from this history is an accurate reproduction of my boat’s travel before and after assistance was rendered. While my sail was damaged, it was still servicable enough for me to control direction of travel – determined by whether I was on a port or starboard tack. I assumed a starboard tack as soon as I heard the assist vessels were on the way. This was done in order to reduce the distance I would travel away from them, and in fact close the distance somewhat in the time it would take for them to arrive.
The reason I asked for assistance is because the wind strength at approximately 50 knots was capable of rendering my already damaged sail useless. A request to lower the sail was received by me from one of the assist vessels, and in the course of lowering the sail significantly more damage was evident than before. Once the sail was lowered my boat was vulnerable to waves arriving on her beam. This is because it is necessary to have a sail up in order to point the bow into wind and waves. Still, her direction of travel would change depending upon which tack she was on. So, even with the sail down control over direction of travel remained. Furthermore, although I rejected this possibility because it would have taken me farther from assistance and toward the shipping lanes, I could have run downwind away from Hout Bay and aforementioned hazards with or without sails.
If there was ever any consideration by anyone to order me to abandon my boat, I was not informed. Furthermore, the least depth of Tafelberg shoal at 7.8 meters (24′) presented no possibility of a grounding since my vessel’s draft is 3 feet 6 inches… There was never any hazard of me going aground or colliding with Vulcan Rock. Please refer to the attached photos for evidence supporting what I have said.
Finally, given the fact wind velocity increased to 60 knots or more during the time my boat was being towed to safety, my decision to request assistance when I did was the best decision I could have made.
Hout Bay Marina,
Hout Bay, S.A.
Author: Bob Lorenzi
Editor’s Notes: Thanks for clearing that up Bob. I have given the NSRI PR the heads up.
On a personal note, and having been on the receiving end of assistance form Gordon’s Bay NSRI in 1999 during a nasty South Easter and having TWO anchor’s break on us, I can appreciate the NSRI concentrating on saving lives first before thinking about the boat. It is an adrenaline ride out to the rescue in an NSRI boat and on return a tired crewman needs to report back immediately – this does contribute to some slight inaccuracies in the retelling.