Gulliver’s life-raft found

Early on Friday morning last week some commercial fishermen found the life-raft belonging to Gulliver, Greg West’s yacht that capsized in June this year.

Quentin Denier, Attie Gunter and Leon Pretorius with the life raft that they found on Friday (21 October 2011) from the yacht Gulliver. The men were also involved in the rescue of Gulliver's crew. At the NSRI AGM, 18 August 2011, these three men of the Witsand Sea Rescue base were honoured with Sea Rescue’s Gallantry Award Silver class. This is the highest award issued by NSRI since the system was introduced in 1998. Photo: NSRI

Gulliver capsized on 15 June 2011. All four crew  members (Skipper Greg West, Frans Strung,  Shaun Kennedy , all of St Francis Bay, and Mike Morck  from Knysna), were rescued out of the life-raft by NSRI Witsand, 12 nautical miles off Witsand. The crew had tethered the life-raft to the capsized yacht with a long rope. The yacht itself was found at midday, on 8 July, washed ashore and quite badly broken up on a farm at Eerste Rivier, near Oyster Bay.

See related post (rescue of Gulliver’s crew):

https://stfrancischronicle.com/2011/06/16/greg-west-shaun-kennedy-and-2-others-rescued-from-capsized-yacht/

Attie Gunter, NSRI Witsand station commander, said Eugene Beukers and his crew first found two white floatation buoys about 1 km off ‘The Bar’ (the sand bar), at Witsand.  On closer inspection, they found beneath the surface the life-raft and immediately called NSRI Witsand for assistance.

“At 5h.40 am NSRI Witsand volunteers launched the sea rescue craft Queenie Paine and on arrival found the life-raft belonging to the yacht Gulliver. We towed the life-raft ashore and she is in safe keeping at our sea rescue base. SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) are en route to inspect the life raft and we are trying to contact the skipper, Greg West from St Francis Bay, to let him know of the remarkable find.

Leon Pretorius holds the EPIRB that guided the sea rescue boat to the stricken yacht on 15 June 2011 in the Gulliver's life raft. Photo: NSRI

“Now finally, in what may well be the last chapter of the incident, her life-raft has been found some 20 kms closer to shore from where her crew were rescued 4 months and 5 days ago. The EPIRB (the emergency transmitter device) was found intact inside the life-raft but the aerial of the EPIRB had untangled and had taken some obvious battering from the oceans elements. The EPIRB had stopped transmitting a few days after the rescue which had prevented the owner from finding his yacht to salvage it.

“We can only imagine the story the life-raft would have to tell floating around our coast semi-submerged for over 4 months!”

See related post (finding of the yacht Gulliver):

https://stfrancischronicle.com/2011/07/08/gregs-yacht-gulliver-has-been-found/

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