20 yachts have arrived in St Lucia as two emergency rescues took place in the fleet still at sea

With 20 of the fastest yachts already enjoying the sunshine in St Lucia, the rest of the fleet have been enduring some changeable conditions and another weekend of drama on the high seas.

Late Friday evening (07/12/07) a crew member onboard the GBR-registered yacht Avocet received a serious head injury caused by the boom during a broach. With the casualty unconscious, urgent medical support was sought. A call was made via the ARC Net for medical assistance whilst MRCC in Martinique tried to locate a ship that could evacuate the casualty. After a difficult and stressful night for all concerned, a successful evacuation took place at first light on Saturday 08 December and the casualty is now thankfully onboard the cruise ship Costa Mediterranea, under the care of the two ship’s doctors. The ship is now en route for Barbados where the casualty will be transferred to hospital.

Late on Saturday morning (08/12/07), a call from MRCC Falmouth initiated the ARC Net again in order to help rescue the crew of a non-ARC yacht that had called a MAYDAY. A message was sent to the ARC fleet with an update on the position and situation of the yacht in trouble. Individual calls were also made to ARC yachts likely to be in the vicinity and able to relay the distress call via VHF radio. ARC yachts Blue Spirit, Worldwide Traveller, Cat-man-do and Regina all responded, but it was ARC yacht Navillus (Brian O’Sullivan IRL) that was first on station.

A 31ft catamaran called Spam – not participating in the ARC – had been dismasted and subsequently holed earlier in the morning. Luckily for the three crew, Navillus, a Bavaria 50, picked up the MAYDAY and was able to assist. The crew was transferred using a liferaft, which was then slashed to sink it. The dismasted catamaran was then abandoned, sinking but still afloat, and an advisory message sent to all ARC yachts to keep clear of it. Navillus has now resumed course for St.Lucia with her unexpected guests safely aboard.

The steady trickle of yachts now arriving in St. Lucia will grow into a veritable flood over the next few days as the majority of the ARC 2007 fleet is expected between 11 – 15 December.