Little's Bounder sinks, Keel broke off; 14 rescued
Fourteen people were rescued from the 55ft race boat Bounder when her keel reportedly fell off two and half miles south of St Catherine's Point off the Isle of Wight this afternoon.
The crew were airlifted off safely and taken to Lee on Solent. None was hospitalised. The yacht reportedly sank after the rescue. The new yacht designed by Juan Kouyoumdian and owned by Chris Little, recently came third in class in the JP Morgan Round the Island Race and was lining up for a big season on the grand prix circuit.
David Glenn Yachting World, 30 June 2007
Regards, Terry King ...Back In The Woods In Vermont
At 1.30 pm, Solent Coastguard received a 999 mobile phone call from the skipper Anthony 'Ski' Haines of the 16.7m Juan Kouyoumdjian designed yacht Bounder in a position 2.5 miles-south east of St Catherines Point Lighthouse.
Speaking to TheDailySail, the yacht's helmsman Jeremy Robinson described what had happened: "We were sailing upwind in 18-20 Knots with the main and 3+ headsail and it just went bang and capsized. It was almost like a dinghy. We were able to get some lines from the boat and throw them over the upturned hull, which had sunk a little, and we got everyone out of the water."
Bounder helmsman explains what happened
The brand-new Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed IRC 55 Bounder which was built by Goetz Custom Boats in Bristol, Newport Rhode Island lost her keel and capsized on Saturday while sea-trialing off St Catherine's Point in 18-20kts of breeze.
This new, sleek-looking racing machine was shipped across the Atlantic earlier this year and launched at the end of March in Portsmouth, UK commencing sea trials in preparation for the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Sydney Hobart.
Her owner Chris Little (Admiral of the RORC) was not on board at the time of the accident but the 14-strong team was successfully airlifted to safety.
According to Jeremy Robinson who was at the helm on Saturday, the crew feel very lucky indeed that it happened where and when it did. "The boat went over so quick I didn't even have time to put on my lifejacket. It was all pretty scary stuff."
Because the new 55ft yacht draws a lot Robinson and teram decided to head offshore and put her through her pacesÍ here's what happened: "We've recently changed the ballast round a little bit so we needed to head out and check the trim. We were sailing upwind when suddenly the boat captain - Anthony Haines - called for everyone to put on their lifejackets. Don't quite know why but he must have had a sixth sense that something was about to happen. I handed one of the crew the helm so I could put on my lifejacket but just as we did that the boat started to heel excessively over a wave. I called for the main to be let out, then there was a huge bang and someone said 'the keel's gone'.
"The boat started to capsize immediately, just like an Ultra 30 really. I hadn't even got my lifejacket on. At this point, as she went over some of the crew went into the water. I climbed over the top and was able to get hold of the rudder. Some who'd gone over the top slid straight off again so there were three of us on the hull and rest in the water. Fortunately they all had their lifejackets on so we were able to grab them and pull them up over the transom. Kevin George managed grab a spinnaker sheet which everyone was able to hang on to.
"Once everyone was on the hull we used a mobile and rung 999 and got through to the Coastguards. But then the hull sank down a bit leaving us sitting on the water rather than above it so we rang again and said we needed a helicopter now. At that stage the freeboard was actually quite low in the surf."
Fortunately the 14-man crew was successfully lifted to safety about half an hour after the initial call to the coastguards. Despite a couple of the crew suffering with the cold none of them needed hospital treatment and within a few minutes of landing on shore at Lee-on-Solent all 14 of them were sitting having a cup of tea. "In fact we had a quick cup of tea," added Robinson, "and then went to the pub so it was pretty much business as usual in that respect! The worse job we had to do of course, was having to ring the owner and tell him what had happed to his new yacht!"
Although Robinson was unable to talk about the keel and the cause of the accident at this stage he did confirm that the yacht is still afloat and will hopefully, weather permitting, be salvaged as soon as possible. The coastguards are continuing to monitor her about 2.5 miles south-east of St Catherine's Point but the strong winds are currently hampering salvage progress.
More news when we have it.
Sue Pelling/Yachting World, 2 July 2007
I have been in and around the southern coast in boats for quite a few years now, and no one has business in that water without having a life jacket on. Even in summer it is cold, and in only a few minutes a person can be incapasitated by the cold.
In 2005 we were comming into the Hamble, and a small yacht changed tack, and then back again, and one crew went overboard. We were 100 meters away, and slowed to a stop whilst the yacht tried to turn back against the wind to collect their crew. After about 2 minuted they had not succeeded and I waved off the yacht and went to get the crew from the water. My friend had to pull him onboard as he was too tired in just that short time to assist himself.
I can not imagine the coast guard being happy with his attitude.
Wheneve we go out, we always have lifejackets on, not just near.
And I will happily tell the man he is an idiot to his face when I see him.
I was watching the Americas Cup after this incident, and *ALL* the crew of all the boats are sans life vests!!!
I dont know what more to say.
I think 99% of yachtsmen sailing in coastal waters off Spain, in July, with dozens of support craft and observers, in a moderate breeze, whilst racing, with the world's best helms steering would also go without lifejackets.
And lifejackets wouldn't have prevented the coast guard being called out for the Bounder incident. I don't know any yottie who always wears a lifejacket. And of course, traditionally, fishermen can't even swim!
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