Golden Globe Race: Puffin rolled and dismasted
It was 1740 UTC when Ian Herbert Jones first saw the Taiwanese Fishing Vessel ZI DA WANG arriving from the North. 26 hours before, the Shropshire sailor closing the GGR fleet in the southern Atlantic was unable to make contact by sat phone. He chose to set off his EPIRB to make sure the Search and Rescue chain of his zone -NAVAREA 6- knew where he was, and that he was facing a bad situation.
Ian had been in heavy weather for a full day already but was unable to deploy his drogue as the wind intensified. Not trailing a drogue or warps made it difficult to keep Puffins stern into the waves and avoid being rolled by the building sea.
The condition soon became overwhelming as the boat could not be held direct downwind. Two hours later, in a SW wind of 55 knots, gusting 75 knots and 8-metre sea, Ian manually lifted the safety cover of his YB3 Satellite tracking and texting device and pressed the distress alert button. This is recognised GGR distress protocol for all entrants, suggesting something more serious had happened.
In fact, at 1930 UTC Puffin had been rolled and dismasted, and her Master had hurt his back and gashed his head in the ordeal. He tried to get out and cut the rig to avoid the mast opening a hole in the hull but conditions were too dire to finish the job. So he went inside, sorted the water ingress through a cabin hatch and proceeded to pump the water out before resting.
Meanwhile the GGR Crisis Management Team had made contact with the MRCC Argentina and later with the SAR Puerto Belgrano to coordinate rescue with commercial traffic in the vicinity. It proved a challenge in the extreme conditions as commercial ships in the vicinity could not safely make way towards Puffin at the time.
The UK Fisheries Patrol boat Lilibet was the first responder, before concerted efforts from the Argentinian SAR Puerto Belgrano and MRCC Taiwan contacted a fleet of fishing vessels closer to Ian’s position able to get to him in a safe and timely manner. Soon there were three fishing vessels routing towards Puffin the ZI DA WANG, FA DA CAI and YUH SHENG N°1.
At 1815 UTC the ZI DA WANG arrived first on the rescue site and positioned herself to the West of Puffin to windward, in order to cut the wind and flatten the sea for Ian, enabling him to manoeuvre at close quarters, while discussing on the VHF the best way to transfer from the injured Puffin to the rescue vessel.
At 19:30 the GGR were informed by the SAR Puerto Belgrano that Ian was on the ZI DA WANG, bruised, cut, scraped, still suffering from his back injury, but safe!
It is believed to be bound for Cape Town, South Africa where Ian will be put ashore.
Puffin, completed a first circumnavigation with Istvan Köpar in the GGR 2018, nearly completed a second one with Ian completing 79.4% of the round the world course with one stop in Tierra del Fuego to repair the Hydrovane. Alas, the brave Tradewind 35 was a hazard to safety and had to be scuttled before Ian left his home for the last 7 months to board the ZI DA WANG.The GGR wish to thank the SAR Puerto Belgrano in Argentina and the MRCC Taiwan for an exemplary international coordination of Ian’s rescue, as well as the shipowner, masters and crew of the F/V Zi Da Wang and the F/V Fa Da Cai and Yuh Sheng N°1. MRCC UK and GRIZ NEZ France were also on standby.