ARC båt sjönk - barnfamilj räddad i sista stund


Tyska 39-fotaren Noah måste överges igår sedan den tagit in så mycket vatten, att pumparna inte klarade att hålla båten flytande. Familjen från Wupperthal kunde räddas av ett brittiskt forskningsfartyg cirka 500 M utanför Västsahara, medan andra ARC-båtar var stand-by i närheten.

Räddningen genomfördes sedan Alexander Grefrath först kontaktade ARC ledningen via e-mail och varskodde den om att läget var allvarligt. Två timmar senare skickade han ut Mayday, då hade pumparna slutat fungera och handpumparna räckte inte till.

familjenMeddelandet fångades upp av andra ARC-båtar och av det brittiska fartyget James Cook. Ett par timmar senare meddelade skeppare Grefrath via All Ships att de var på väg att räddas av James Cook och att ARC-båtarna därmed kunde återgå till rallyt.

MRCC på Teneriffa samordnade räddningen av familjen, som även bestod av hustrun Alexandra, två söner på 10 respektive 12 år och gasten Jörg Zeibig. Forskningsfartyget är nu på väg till Santa Cruz de Tenerife för att sätta iland familjen.


Noah förväntades ha sjunkit, men trackern är fortfarande igång, vilket antyder att båten fortfarande flyter. Farten är i skrivande stund 0,7 knop och kursen 288 grader.


Båten var en 39 fots one-off, byggd i aluminium med svängköl. Men orsaken till hur vatten kunde komma in, är oklar, men kolliderade med något i vattnet natten innan.

Konstruktör är Berckemeyer Design i Tyskland, som även har ritat flotta Adventure 55 och kommenterar sin konstruktion enligt följande:

”I have been the head of Berckemeyer Yacht Design since 2004. I’ve designed all current designs. These are all marked with the abbreviation „BM“ (BerckemeyerMenzner). The current sunken yacht is not one of these BM Designs.
First of all, thank you for asking directly at Berckemeyer Yacht Design. This give us the possibility to clarify some things.
The sunken yacht is not a BM39. She is an original design by the 2004 late Oswald Berckemeyer from 20 years ago called „Clipper 41E"
This boat is not designed as a blue water yacht. It only has an inner (lead) ballast and an aluminium swing sword. The hull was originally built for the coastal waters on the german north sea. Mr. Grefrath bought this kasko about 5 years ago and readied the boat of minimum 2 yards according to his ideas. These ideas obviously deviated very much from the original design of Oswald Berckemeyer. I had informed Mr. Grefrath in writing that this yacht was not designed for these.
This Clipper 41E has no keel (as described above). The ballast is 3.8t lead, molded and welded in the hull structure. ”

Best Regards
Martin Menzner


Rapport från räddarna:

We are very pleased about the safe outcome for all crew on board the Noah and the James Cook and attached the Master’s report of the rescue for your use. The RRS James Cook was in the area as part of the MartineEtech project.

“At 1424Z today [23 Nov 2016] the Officer of the Watch (2/O) received a Mayday on VHF 16 from the 12m yacht 'Noah', in a position 23 nautical miles Southeast of the James Cook. The skipper reported that it had struck a submerged object overnight and was sinking with 5 persons on board (including 2 children). 2 yachts close by 'Noah', the 'Step-by-Step' and 'White Satin' responded in the first instance before we also made contact. We provided our range and bearing from the Noah and, given the circumstances, instructed the 2 other yachts to remain standing by the 'Noah' as we would be best placed to effect a rescue. Fortunately, we had no equipment deployed at the time as we were waiting for Autosub to surface and were able to set a course to rendezvous with the 'Noah' without too much delay. We employed all 4 main generators at 85% load en route, making a maximum speed of 16.2kts.

As we proceeded on passage, we relayed the Mayday ashore to Tenerife MRCC (the 'Noah' was out of range of the shore by VHF) who confirmed that we were the only vessel in the vicinity. The deck was prepared by the C/O, 3/O and all ratings; scramble nets, pilot ladder, rocket lines, MOB boat prepped etc. The PI Dr Bramley Murton very kindly offered to give up his cabin for the family; further conversation with the 'Noah' established that all onboard were well with no injuries or medical issues.

We arrived on scene at 1603. On approach it became clear that the family had abandoned the yacht and were in a liferaft which was drifting free. Conditions at this time were a long 2.5m swell from the North and sea state 4 from the Northeast. Making our approach from the Northwest we instructed the other 2 yachts to standoff to the Southeast, and had to make our approach between the liferaft and the sinking yacht in order to manoeuvre the liferaft along our starboard side. Conditions were not ideal as a head to wind approach meant that the vessel rolled dangerously in the swell, whilst a head to swell approach left the liferaft exposed to the sea conditions. Splitting the difference was the best compromise. Two lines, one fwd one aft, were quickly passed to the liferaft and were made secure so that the raft could be manoeuvred under the ladder. All on the raft were wearing lifejackets but the deck crew also passed an improvised strop down so that they could be secured during the transition. All 5 made it up the ladder safely (one of the youngsters is obviously a bit of a climber). A medical assessment was made to confirm that all were well.

The vessel is now on passage to Tenerife, ETA 0600 251116, and we are liaising with Tenerife MRCC as to further arrangements.
" Report from James Gwinnell | Master | RRS James Cook

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is the UK’s leading institution for integrated coastal and deep ocean research. NOC undertakes and facilitates world-class agenda-setting scientific research to understand the global ocean by solving challenging multidisciplinary, large scale, long-term marine science problems to underpin international and UK public policy, business and wider society outcomes.

Curt Gelin


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