I received this morning via email the sad news of the sinking of the sailboat Rule 62 on a reef in the northern Bahamas. As you will read below, three of the four crew members have been rescued, a fourth is missing. The email was from a friend participating in the Caribbean 1500 rally, as was Rule 62. Here are the preliminary details relayed from a boat that's still at sea:
11/15/ Monday- Pray for Laura’s Rescue
With this morning’s report we were shocked to hear about the sinking of “Rule 62” a 45’ Jeanneau in the cruising class. Around 9pm last night they attempted to enter a narrow cut into the Bahama’s in the midst of a “rage.” If I understand correctly it means the current is going in one direction and wind and surge in another creating a lot of turbulence. It’s unclear if a large wave knocked them down or if it was making contact with a reef. All 4 crew members were thrown overboard.
We do not know if they were wearing any floatation at the time. Three crew members including the husband and wife owners made it onto a reef, the fourth crew member, Laura, is missing. An active search and rescue mission is underway by the Coast Guard and our hope and prayer is that Laura managed to stay afloat or make it onto a reef and will be spotted in the daylight. The rescued crew was taken to Nassau for treatment. The boat is considered a loss as it wrecked upon the reef. We’ve had heavy northerly swells this entire trip and it most likely was a factor, along with fatigue. We also are unclear as to whether they were originally bound for Bermuda, as some of the fleet did have that as destination, or whether they diverted because of weather or illness. Details are sketchy still, but we urge all our friends to continue to hope for a good outcome.
All boats in the Carib 1500 carry transponders, so you can see where Rule 62 went ashore at [URL="http://www.carib1500.com/Trackerclass7.htm"]
Having made the trip from the east coast to the Caribbean in November twice and experienced gale force winds on both trips, I know the passage south is no walk in the park. This year the start of the Carib 1500 was delayed a week until Nov 8 due to weather associated with hurricane Tomas. The hurricane and the low pressure systems that came off the coast last week produced large seas from the north and sustained winds in the 20-30 knot range during much of the first 2/3rds of the trip. Our friends' boat experienced wind gusts above 50 knots in squalls associated with frontal passage.
I know you all will join us in praying for the missing crew member. The loss of Rule 62 is evidence to us all that offshore sailing is serious business, and that even when you prepare yourself and your boat well, tragedy can strike at a moment's notice.