Skill and Cooperation Led to OSTAR Race Rescue's Success

Jaap Barendregt / Facebook

Published Jun 16, 2017 9:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

New details have emerged about the sophisticated rescue operation for the sailing yacht Happy in the North Atlantic last weekend. The vessel was one of four boats in the OSTAR/TWOSTAR transatlantic race that were badly damaged by a severe storm and required assistance.

The Happy lost her mast the night of June 8-9 and radioed for help. The anchor handling tug Alp Forward and the container vessel MSC Anzu diverted to assist, with guidance from the Canadian Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Halifax. A Canadian Coast Guard aircraft provided overflight monitoring of the Happy while the merchant ships were under way to the scene, and the Forward arrived in the early hours of June 10.

Conditions were poor on scene, and the responders decided to wait for dawn. At first light, it was still too rough for the good samaritan vessels to come alongside for a direct crew transfer. Following directions from the JRCC, the Anzu pulled closer to create a lee for the Happy. The yacht's two crewmembers put on their immersion suits and prepared to abandon ship, then inflated their life raft and transferred over to the Alp Forward. Both were rescued in good condition and without injury. 

"We are being taken well care of . . . and expect to arrive in the Bahamas on the 18th," wrote skipper Jaap Barendregt in a social media post. "I note that many of you were concerned about our well being. We have of course been worried about material damage, but we have never been worried about our personal safety . . . Bobbing on the sea for 24 hours in a damp hull hasn't been the most pleasant experience in our lives, but we did find time to eat fresh pineapple, catch some sleep, make jokes and monitor a very impressive rescue operation."

The rescue of the Happy's crew was one of four that weekend. The offshore support/response tug Thor Magni rescued the Bulgarian crew of the Luffe 37 Furia, which was so damaged by the storm that she later sank. The skipper of the yacht Illumia reported "keel problems," according to race organizers; he was rescued by a helicopter of the Canadian Air Force and brought to St. John's. And the single-handed sailor Mervyn Wheatley was saved by the crew of the ocean liner Queen Mary 2 after the storm knocked down his boat, the 37-foot yacht Tamarind, and broke in a porthole. 

Tempesta perfetta su vento di sardegna #ostar2017

#Ostar2017, la 'tempesta perfetta' si abbatte su Vento di Sardegna. Ecco il VIDEO filmato dallo stesso Andrea Mura. La barca ha riportato diversi danni ma dopo uno stop il velista sardo è ripartito. E' ancora primo in classifica e il traguardo si avvicina http://www.sardegnaoggi.it/Sport/2017-06-13/36501/Ostar_2017_la_tempesta_perfetta_si_abbatte_su_Vento_di_Sardegna_-_VIDEO.html Ostar and Twostar 2017

Posted by Sardegna Oggi on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Video taken by Andrea Mura, skipper of the yacht Vento di Sardegna, showing the conditions at the time of the yacht casualties. The Sardegna did not require a rescue.

A Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter rescues Michelle Zambelli, the captain of the yacht Illumia. The Illumia developed problems with her keel, forcing Zambelli tio retire from the race and abandon ship.