NSRI’s battle to save stricken Atlantis yacht pays off

NSRI Agulhas sea rescue duty crew battled through the early hours of this morning to save the Atlantis yacht.

A dozen NSRI volunteers had to push the yacht out over the surf line and then when the motor would not start, had to tow the yacht to shore in fierce winds with the NSRI rescue craft.

Skipper of the casualty yacht, Mark Gielissen, from Cape Town, who lives on board his boat, and his crewman, were sailing from Richards Bay to Cape Town, with their last port of call being Port Elizabeth. But they had to seek shelter in the bay off Struis Baai to escape gusting up to 40 knot winds and rough seas with breaking swells of up to 2 to 3 metres.

The yacht with two crewmen ran aground west of Struis Baai.

Reinard Geldenhuys, NSRI Agulhas station commander, said at 2 am this morning, 16 January 2013, NSRI Agulhas volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from the yacht. “Our NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft Vodacom Rescuer VII and responded directly to the scene.  Both crewmen were safe and uninjured.

“Twelve NSRI rescuers in wet suits pushed the casualty boat out through the surf line. Once there was enough water under her hull, the yacht engaged her motors to begin motoring out through the wave line to deeper water. The rudder appears to have jammed and one motor stalled but the yacht managed to breach through the wave line.”

Once the yacht was safely through the waves the sea rescue craft took up a towline to her and towed it until first light to Marlin Mooring in the Bay of Struis Baai, securing her from washing aground through the surf.

The yacht itself and one of its motors is damaged.  The yacht will be monitored today and if the wind subsides Atlantis will be towed into Struis Baai harbour tomorrow where the crew will effect repairs to their yacht before sailing on.

Photos will be available later today and will be posted here.

(edited)