Capsized Boats that Would Not Sink

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At 0500 on the stormy morning of December 2, 2010, the Multi50 trimaran Region Aquitaine-Port Medoc, en route from Guadeloupe to France, was hit by a violent squall and capsized in mid-Atlantic, 1,000 miles from land.

Skipper Lalou Rocayrol and his crew were soon rescued by a passing freighter and the boat was never seen again—not until December 5 last year, when a Reliance Yacht Management crew delivering a boat from Europe to the Caribbean sailed within spitting distance of the upturned tri. Captain Hannah Golebiewska photographed the wreck and passed its position on to the authorities.

A delivery crew spotted this upturned racing trimaran in mid-Atlantic, five years after it capsized en route to France

A delivery crew spotted this upturned racing trimaran in mid-Atlantic, five years after it capsized en route to France

The trimaran was just one of a spate of re-appearances of missing sailboats. In January, the capsized hull of a Leopard 44 catamaran was found drifting off the east coast of South Africa. It and its three crew had disappeared in the Indian Ocean in February 2015 on a delivery voyage from South Africa to a Sunsail base in Thailand. The Agulhas current had carried it south from its last reported position on the outskirts of a tropical cyclone.

Sadly, the catamaran broke loose in heavy seas as it was being towed into port and at time of writing had not been seen again, denying the families of the three crewmembers some much-needed closure.

Hugo Boss in 2006, shortly before she was abandoned;  she was found on a Chilean beach nine years later

Hugo Boss in 2006, shortly before she was abandoned; she was found on a Chilean beach nine years later

In late February, a kayaker discovered the remains of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss washed up on a beach on the Chilean coast, nine years after it was abandoned during the 2005-06 Velux 5 Oceans race when its canting keel mechanism failed in a storm off South Africa. Skipper Alex Thomson was rescued by fellow competitor Mike Golding, but the boat had not been seen since. It drifted more than 10,000 miles across the bottom of the world to end up in Patagonia.[advertisement]

A racing crew found this dismasted boat off the Philippines, with her skipper’s body aboard

A racing crew found this dismasted boat off the Philippines, with her skipper’s body aboard

In late January, the most macabre discovery of them all: the crew of a boat competing in the Clipper round-the-world race boarded a dismasted, derelict Jeanneau 44 off the Philippines and discovered the mummified body of a German sailor on board, sitting at the chart table. They reported it to the U.S. Coast Guard and sailed on. A month later the hulk was found by Filipino fishermen. It was later towed to shore, where an autopsy found the solo sailor, Manfred Bajorat, had died of a heart attack. He had not been heard from for a year, though it’s not known when he died.

The wreck of this Gunboat 55 was towed into Bermuda, 13 months after it lost its rig and was abandoned

The wreck of this Gunboat 55 was towed into Bermuda, 13 months after it lost its rig and was abandoned

And finally, as we were going to press, news came that the Gunboat 55 catamaran, Rainmaker, which was dismasted and abandoned off Cape Hatteras in January 2015, had been found again (she was last seen in July 2015). The hulk was spotted off Bermuda by fishermen, and was towed back into port.

Lost on a delivery from South Africa to Thailand, this cat was found more than a year later

Lost on a delivery from South Africa to Thailand, this cat was found more than a year later

May 2016

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