North American Rally struck by tragedy

The 2011 North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC) which began on Oct. 30, 2011, in Newport, R.I. was marred by two tragic events as the fleet made its way south.

On Nov. 2, gale-force winds and 20- to 30-foot seas forced the captain and crew of Elle, a 46-foot Beneteau to abandon ship 200 nautical miles northwest of Bermuda. The vessel had experienced a steering failure and one of the crew-members suffered bruised ribs. After placing a distress call, the crew of four were rescued from their vessel by the Bermuda Container Line vessel Oleander, en route from New Jersey to Hamilton, Bermuda. Unfortunately, the yacht Elle had to be abandoned.

In a second incident, a 59-year-old woman, Janet Anderson, was lost overboard in 20-foot seas and 45-knot winds. She and her husband were sailing aboard their 38-foot Island Packet, Triple Stars, when the accident occurred 285 miles northwest of Bermuda on Nov. 11. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a two-day search covering 1,735 square miles before search efforts for Anderson were suspended. The merchant vessel High Jupiter rescued Robert Anderson, who was forced to abandon Triple Stars.

Another NARC participant, the 49-foot sloop Riot also suffered steering failure, this time on final approach to St. George’s Harbor and issued a distress call to Bermuda Maritime Operations Center. Pilot boat St. George and tug Powerful came to Riot’s assistance. Winds averaged 30- to 35-knots during the rescue operation as St. George and Powerful worked to keep Riot clear of reefs. Riot was ultimately safely guided into St. George’s Harbor.

By Ocean Navigator