Trip to Madagascar aborted after yacht runs aground off Transkei

An NSRI Plett volunteer, his wife and their dog on a pleasure cruise to Madagascar managed to swim safely ashore after their yacht, Boundless,  hit a reef then ran aground in heavy seas off Transkei this morning, 4 August.

The yacht, Boundless
The yacht, Boundless

Graham and Sheryl Anley, and their Jack-Russel dog, Rosie, all wearing life-jackets – the dog wearing a specially tailored dog life-jacket with its own emergency strobe light – swam to shore safely after their boat hit a reef in the early hours of this morning. They raised the alarm after reaching shore.

Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London station commander, said: “Graham told us they were headed on a 3 month break to Madagascar.  Off Transkei they ran into very rough weather with wave heights of 7 meters which, despite their lowering sails and going onto motor power, eventually dragged their boat ashore and onto a reef.

“As the incident happened Graham sent a Mayday radio distress call and activated the EPIRB (Global Positioning Distress beacon) but they were immediately forced to abandon ship.

He first swam Rosie ashore safely before returning for his wife whose safety line had snagged on the steering gear. Once safely ashore he raised the alarm by cell-phone.

“Graham admits it is humbling, after 22 years as an NSRI volunteer, to have the shoe on the other foot and need to be rescued.”

Mcgregor says the EL duty crew were activated at 6.15 am this morning following reports of the 36 foot yacht Boundless  reporting to have run aground at Cebe, about 450 km by road from East London on the Transkei Coast. 

NSRI EL crew dispatched an EC Government Health EMS rescue helicopter and on arrival found the crew and dog safe and uninjured. The yacht wasseverely damaged and high and dry on the high water mark.

 “Sherryl and Rosie were airlifted by the EMS rescue helicopter to our East London sea rescue base and a family back-packers lodge near to the scene are assisting Graham. The EMS rescue helicopter crew assisted in securing the yacht to the shore. Personal belongings were recovered from the yacht prior to departing for East London.

Efforts will be made by the couple to salvage what they can off their yacht. Sheryl and Rosie will return to the scene today assisted by people from the back-packers lodge. It may take a few days to assess the situation and salvage what they can of the yacht.

“Graham and Sheryl have respectively requested not to be contacted by media and NSRI will field any questions. NSRI have expressed our delight that they are safe,” McGregor added.


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